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N.Y. firefighters bring early Christmas to Fort Bragg

Posted December 2, 2010

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— A group of New York firefighters rolled into Fayetteville Thursday morning to bring Christmas cheer to wounded soldiers.

About 30 firefighters from Long Island arrived at Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg shortly before noon to distribute gifts they carried in a U-Haul truck, from laptop computers to iPods, to soldiers wounded in combat.

The effort, called Operation Wounded Warrior, is in its sixth year, and the firefighters visit military hospitals across the U.S.

"So often, they joined the military soon after 9/11. They felt it was their duty. They had to do something," said Ken Fairben, chief of the Floral Park (N.Y.) Fire Department, whose paramedic son died in the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Fairben said Operation Wounded Warrior is the firefighters' way of thanking the troops for their service.

"They stepped up to the plate. They're serving our country. Many of them have been seriously wounded, so we're here to let them know we're always going to be here for them," he said. "We absolutely respect them. We're going to support them. We'll do whatever it takes to get them back on their feet."

N.Y. firefighters bring early Christmas to Fort Bragg N.Y. firefighters bring early Christmas to Fort Bragg

In addition to the gifts, the firefighters passed along Christmas cards to the soldiers that were made by children in New York.

Maj. Laura Knapp, who broke her leg in a training accident, received a card made by a firefighter's daughter and a blanket knitted by a woman who attends the firefighter's church.

"They are gorgeous," Knapp said of her gifts, adding that such support helps her and her fellow troops.

"(It's nice to know,) this long into a sustained conflict, that they still have the love of service members in their heart from that far away," she said.

The firefighters spend the year raising money to purchase gifts for injured service members.

The group will head to Camp Lejeune on Friday before going back north to visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside of Washington, D.C.

"As long as they're still there, we'll stand by them till the day they come home. This is showing them we care," said Scott Ballard of the Stewart (N.Y.) Fire Department.

17 Comments

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  • skeeter II Dec 3, 2010

    The role of the National Guard has changed over time. When I enlisted in 1955, we could not be called to federal duty unless you called up the entire unit (in that case the entire North Carolina National Guard). Now many National Guard units are a part of a Active Army unit, such as one of three Brigades in a Division. Individual unit can be called up. Maybe you should research how many times some of the National Guard units have been deployed in the last five year, mostly to combat areas!

    I was proud to have been a member of the National Guard, rising from a Private to Captain after completing active army Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, OK. I switched to the Army Reserve and ended my nearly 32 year career as a LTC. None of my promotions were "political" -- I earned my promotions by my actions in serving my country.

    I thank each National Guard and other Reserves serving today or in the past. Remember that these individuals must leave a job when activated!

  • PTParks Dec 3, 2010

    hotlipsmelissa,
    What an asnine comment. The National Guard deserves as much gratitude as the active Army irregardless of why they ended up in the hospital. The next time you see a TV news report on some natural disaster, the Soldiers you see providing emergency assistance are most likely members of the Army National Guard. you should probably request some adult supervision the next time you decide to exercise your small mind and post a comment here among the grownups.

  • icedtea Dec 3, 2010

    great story.

  • icedtea Dec 3, 2010

    This is soo nice.

  • NavySrChiefswife Dec 2, 2010

    Wonderful story. Prayers to our troops. So thankful for those who support our troops....Bless you.

  • NC Reader Dec 2, 2010

    Wow! What a wonderful story!

  • itsnews2me Dec 2, 2010

    Yes, Virginia, there is decency in the world!

    Actions speak louder than words, and NYFD's actions are loud and clear. If only more were like them and those who serve.

  • jenzinnia Dec 2, 2010

    ooooo....no offense hotlips, but be careful you don't scratch yourself with those claws.....

  • jenzinnia Dec 2, 2010

    ditto bruced625!!!

  • bruced625 Dec 2, 2010

    GOD bless the men and women who serve and sacrifice for our country!, and GOD bless the NYFD who also knows what true sacrifice is all about!

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