By Linda Dillman
Madison Township firefighters not only put out blazes, at this time of year they also create the warmth of kindness by reaching out to a trio of needy families.
“Each shift gets a family,” said Madison Township Firefighter Ed Dildine, Jr., a member of Union Local 2507, which sponsors the program. “There is one (family) from Groveport, one from Canal Winchester and one from the unincorporated area of Madison Township. We have been doing this for about seven years. I first started it on my shift with one family and then our firefighter local union became involved the next year.”
Families are identified by the Center for Groveport Human Needs and Canal Winchester Human Needs. Their information is then forwarded to the fire department.
Donations are collected from firefighters and the firefighters’ union.
“Then we go shopping for toys, clothes and food,” said Dildine. “We wrap all the toys and clothes and make arrangements with the family to deliver to them using the firefighters and a fire engine. Our entire department participates in this program with monetary donations, time for shopping, wrapping and delivery.”
While the number of families firefighters adopt for the holidays remains the same, Dildine said, from conversations with both Human Needs agencies, the number of families who need help keeps growing.
“This, in turn, puts a strain on each organization trying to make their donations go farther,” Dildine said. “Human Needs provides a very vital service to the community and anything we can do to make it a little easier for them and make three families have a very Merry Christmas is the least we can do to give back to the communities we serve.”
Dildine hopes word spreads to other organizations and individuals to step up and help out Human Needs in the Groveport, Canal Winchester and unincorporated Madison Township areas.
Firefighters union President Rashid Taylor said the members of the Madison Township Fire Department are committed to provide the best service they can for township residents.
“In the many years that we have been involved with Adopt-a-Family, it has given our members another opportunity to be involved with some of those in need in the community,” said Taylor. “It is always heartwarming for our firefighters to participate in the program and have a small impact. We appreciate the collaboration and support from Groveport and Canal Winchester Human Needs.”