Athol Firefighters to the rescue of Salvation Army

  • Athol Firefighters donated 14 frozen turkeys and Thanksgiving meal trimmings to the Athol Salvation Army recently. Left to right, front — Ann Stevens, Salvation Army Social Worker; with volunteers Jimmy Morse and Carol Raymond. Rear — Firefighter Chad Girard; Firefighter Jamal Hamilton, President of the Professional Firefighters of Athol Local 1751, and Firefighter Kevin Kaczmarczyk. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Deborrah Porter

  • Athol Firefighter Kevin Kaczmarczyk, left, and Firefighter Jamal Hamilton, President of the Professional Firefighters of Athol Local 1751, wheel a turkey-laden stretcher up the ramp to the Athol Salvation Army in Athol recently.  —ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Deborrah Porter

Staff Report
Published: 11/25/2019 9:50:20 PM
Modified: 11/26/2019 8:00:17 AM

ATHOL — It was an emergency of a different kind for the Athol Fire Department the past week as an ambulance quietly responded to the Athol Salvation Army on Ridge Avenue.

Observers might have been surprised to see a three-man crew emerge from the unit with a stretcher fully loaded with frozen turkeys and boxes of food — and push it up the walkway to the entrance.

Jamal Hamilton, President of the Professional Firefighters of Athol, Local 1751, and fellow firefighters Chad Girard and Kevin Kaczmarczyk delivered 14 turkeys (roughly 150 pounds), along with boxes of stuffing, jars of gravy, and fresh vegetables to make Thanksgiving dinners.

Hamilton said, “People were very generous once we brought the idea forward. It was kind of a last minute thing. We’re pretty proud of it. Next year if we can get a better head start on it, it can evolve into a bigger thing.”

There to receive the donation was Ann Stevens, Social Worker at the Salvation Army, and volunteer workers Jimmy Morse and Carol Raymond. Just the day before they helped put together 474 cardboard delivery boxes to be used for the upcoming holiday deliveries.

“That’s amazing,” Stevens said, “I can use all the help you guys want to give.” She told them that 200 families had signed up for Thanksgiving baskets this year. She said the firefighters arrived just in the nick of time. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We were short 12 dinners,” she said, “and didn’t know what we were going to do.”

“Whatever we can do to help,” said Hamilton. He noted the department is also working on gathering Christmas presents, getting trees to some families and are also starting up a coat drive. “There are some kids out there that are shivering,” he said, “so we’re doing what we can to help everybody.”

Of the turkey dinners said Hamilton, “Hopefully it will feed a few. A lot of us grew up in this town. A lot of people are struggling. We are willing to help out as much as we can.”

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