By Ann Rowland
In the wake of the tragic loss of two firefighters in a fire on Sunday, the Toledo community is responding by reaching out to all of the firefighters across the city. Toledo resident, Jamie Armstrong, came up with an idea to feed all of the city’s firefighters for one day. She reached out through social media and the community responded and meals are being dropped off at all Toledo fire stations for this entire week of sadness and mourning.
Firefighters Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, were killed while fighting a fire in a six-unit apartment building. They became disoriented in the fire and were lost for several minutes. When their fellow firefighters found them, they began lifesaving measures. However, it was too late and both men were pronounced dead at the hospital.
Jamie Armstrong told WTOL-Toledo “When a family loses somebody, the neighborhood usually comes together, your neighbors on the left and the right. They bring dinners for the week so that you don’t have to deal with all of that in addition to your loss. I thought wouldn’t that be really cool if we could do that for the firefighters”.
A Facebook page called “Feed our Toledo Firefighters” was created to help with informing the community about this idea. The description on the page reads “Coming together as a community to show our appreciation for our fallen heroes and their surviving brothers and sisters on the TFD.” Jamie created a page on Potluck.com to organize the meals and within twenty-four hours, she had enough meals donated to feed every firefighter at every Toledo fire station for the entire week.
“I just wanted to do it for the firefighters to say ‘thank you’ for everything that you do for us. We really do appreciate it and we are truly sorry for your terrible loss,” Jamie told WTOL. “It’s something you would do for your neighbor and why not do it for the people who put their lives on the line for us every day.”
Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire Department told WTOL that the entire Toledo fire community is overwhelmed by this show of community support and understanding for what they are going through right now. “For someone to undertake that task to feed our firefighters this week when it’s a week of mourning for us is very touching and it’s very humbling for us.”
There has been such an overwhelming response that Jamie is considering extending the meal program beyond this week. You can visit the “Feed our Toledo Firefighters” Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/feedourTFD