2017-09-14 / Front Page

Lincoln, Wilkes Counties team up to aid hurricane rescue personnel


Retired Lincolnton Fire Chief Michael Wengrow helped to screen print dozens of T-shirts to send to rescue personnel in need in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Retired Lincolnton Fire Chief Michael Wengrow helped to screen print dozens of T-shirts to send to rescue personnel in need in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. A collaboration to help relieve volunteer rescue personnel in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma has bridged the gap between Wilkes, Lincoln, and even Jefferson County emergency services.

After a recent call for donations of clothing and other supplies, The Washington Fire Department, Wilkes County EMS, The Lincoln County Office of Emergency Ser­vices, The Lincolnton Fire Depart­ment, with countless other volunteer stations throughout the counties, alongside Jefferson County rescue services have all come together to purchase T-shirts and other supplies to send to rescue squads in need.

The original initiative was born out of helping victims of hurricane Harvey, however supplies will more than likely be rerouted to squads in Florida depending on Irma’s impact, and the greater need for help.


Washington Fire Chief C.J. Gilliand (left) and Lincoln County Office of Emergency Services Director Casey Broom (right), with the help of individuals and volunteer fire stations throughout both Wilkes and Lincoln County, joined forces to purchase T-shirts and other supplies to send to rescue personnel working in hurricane devastated areas. Washington Fire Chief C.J. Gilliand (left) and Lincoln County Office of Emergency Services Director Casey Broom (right), with the help of individuals and volunteer fire stations throughout both Wilkes and Lincoln County, joined forces to purchase T-shirts and other supplies to send to rescue personnel working in hurricane devastated areas. “We’re just doing this because of the brotherhood – brothers helping brothers, and sisters. We support one another,” Lincolnton Fire Chief Matt Ivey said. “It’s not just T-shirts, but it’s things like socks, Clorox wipes, and towels. It’s really practi­cal stuff that you may not think of when you’re put into that sort of situation.”

While the Lincolnton Fire De­partment and Loco Volunteer Fire Department joined forces to send 50 shirts to rescue personnel, other donations and even cash dona­tions have been trickling in to aid in the relief movement from other sources.

Officials with the Washington Fire Department, the Lincolnton Office of Emergency Services, and other volunteer departments have come together to purchase another 350 shirts, and have been actively collecting supplies to send out as well.

“We saw an opportunity to meet a need, so we’re trying to help out. The shirts are going to volunteer departments, not big stations. We’re just volunteers helping volunteers, especially since they’re in devas­tated areas and don’t even have the ability to wash clothes. But, we’re sending T-shirts with the fire emblems on them to the rescue workers so they’ll, least of all, be identifiable,” OES Director Casey Broom said.

“This all started after I got a call from a friend about Jefferson and Wilkes collecting T-shirts for Texas, and since we don’t keep our depart­ment T-shirts stocked we just went from there,” Broom explained.

Wilkes County Fire Chief C.J. Gilland included their introduction to the volunteer effort as well.

“[An anonymous citizen] actu­ally got us linked up with Jefferson County’s efforts – he had a friend who lives in Jefferson, so we started coordinating things through him,” Gilland said. “What we’re doing now is we’re waiting until this next wave comes in with Irma. This hap­pened because officials in Jefferson received a phone call from the state fire marshall in Texas letting us know that they while appreciate the effort, they’re actually overwhelmed with donations, so we’re saving the supplies we’ve gathered and will probably end up sending them to aid those in Florida.”

On top of T-shirts and practical supplies, even 100 duffle bags filled with baby wipes, bug spray, and other pertinent items are being as­sembled to send to the storm-worn areas.

Special thanks were also extended to Michael Wengrow, owner of Goldman and Wengrow, and Troy Bunch, owner of Bunch-A-T’s Screen Printing, for putting together the T-shirts with the fire insignia.

While the exact location of where supplies are being sent to is currently unknown, regardless, the heart of the drive remains the same.

“If we can help keep other rescue outfits on the job so that they can help their own communities that’s the biggest thing we can accom­plish,” Gilland said.

Furthermore, community mem­bers may make donations of the aforementioned supplies through this week should they wish to join the effort.

For more information, contact the Washington Fire Department at 706-678-7113, or contact any of the entities mentioned above.

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