CANTON, SD -
The channels of communication among first responders in New York City have been strengthened in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy thanks to the help of a volunteer firefighter from South Dakota. A donation of new equipment will keep those firefiighters on top of emergencies on the East Coast.
Canton volunteer firefighter Bob Gard helped deliver much-needed firefighting equipment to storm-damaged sections of New York City last weekend.
"The piles of garbage; pumping raw sewage in the streets. No electricity; no heat. It was like going to a third-world country," Gard said.
As a member of the National Firefighters Endowment, Gard rounded-up hand-held radios and pagers for the fire halls silenced by Sandy.
"Until we got those radios in their hands, they couldn't do anything," Gard said.
The firefighters endowment even delivered a new fire truck to replace one damaged by salt water.
"They were ecstatic. Any help that they can get, they were grateful," Gard said.
Many of the firefighters who helped Sandy storm victims have suffered devastating personal losses themselves.
"I would say 60 percent of them lost their homes, lost all their belongings, right down to their personal vehicle that was sitting at the station when it was flooded-out. They have nothing, but they keep getting back on the truck and going to help everybody else. It's what you do as a firefighter," Gard said.
And when disaster strikes among their own, firefighters like Gard are on the scene to re-supply departments that have lost so much.
Gard is also asking fire departments to give any equipment they don't use anymore for the New York departments.
If you'd like to make a donation, visit the Thin Red Line website.
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