STRONGSVILLE – Firemen are a part of a brotherhood, coming to each other’s rescue when needed.

Even firemen worlds apart share in that bond.

Thanks to the Strongsville Rotary Club, whose mission is “service above self,” that bond has been strengthened between the Strongsville Fire and Rescue Services and firefighters in Honduras.

Strongsville’s protective fire suits recently reached their 10-year mark. It’s a service life standard of the National Fire Protection Association departments here follow, though the suits are still useful.

The fire department reached out to the Rotary recently to see if they could be reused somewhere.

Pat Greco, Rotary’s director of international services and a retired Strongsville fireman, has long had an affinity for Honduras and Central America, in fact, the club recently helped a girls’ school fund a computer lab which is named the Bill Gordon Computer Lab in honor of this longtime Rotarian.

So Greco reached out to the Rotary there and after a few weeks of figuring out the logistics and paperwork, 50 sets of firefighter turnout gear and 11 sets of leather boots will make the journey to the firemen in that nation. Rotary will be handling the shipping.

“Rotary’s motto is ‘service above self’ and we like to answer the call to champion the call of help and assistance wherever and however we can,” Greco said. “Finding a good use, a purposeful use for this valuable equipment, it’s priceless to them it’s such an impoverished country, but it has no value here because of the date.”

Strongsville Fire Chief Jack Draves said the department was happy to help a fellow department in need and is appreciative of the Strongsville Rotary for helping pull it all together.

“We are very fortunate to have the resources in this city to maintain these high health and safety standards for our firefighters, but also realize there are many departments across the world that don’t have adequate resources to purchase this basic personal protective equipment,” he said. “We are grateful for the assistance of the Strongsville Rotary to help us get the gear to fellow firefighters in Honduras that don’t have anything. My hope is that the gear is put to good use and helps protect another firefighter from being injured.”

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