When the area's newest outdoor adventure group, Venture Crew 30, chartered to the Townsend Fire-EMS Association formed earlier this year, they did so with a group of 10 young men and women between 14 and 21 and a handful of adult volunteers but not a lot more. Over the course of the last five months they were able to get a lot of camping equipment from Fitchburg Boy Scout Troop 44 as well as Townsend Troop 10. Adult volunteers were able to provide the use of their own equipment including ropes and hardware to allow the members to enjoy rock climbing.
While one of the crew's primary focuses is high adventure such as climbing, hiking and rafting, their other focus is on firefighting and emergency medical service. A key ingredient for the effectiveness of the "Fire-Side", as adviser Tom Whittier calls it, is adequate protective clothing for the members. With new firefighter turnout gear costing over $1,000 a person, purchasing was not an option at this point even with just six members of the crew enrolled in the current Firefighter I training.
Tom, a retired firefighter/EMT turned to the Internet and posted requests for help on a national level in firefighter forums and website.
On one of the forums, a member pointed him to a charity known as the Terry Farrell Firefighter's Fund. What he found was nothing short of a miracle. The fund was started by Brian Farrell, brother of Terry Farrell, a highly decorated firefighter on the elite New York City Fire Department Rescue 4 and Chief of the Dix Hills Volunteer Fire Department. Sadly, Terry along with 342 of his brothers perished when the twin towers collapsed on 9/11.
The fund has many chapters around the nation with it's headquarters in Terry and Brian's home turf of Long Island, NY.
When Whittier contact Brian asking for any kind of assistance Brian simply said, "Tell me when you want to come down and we'll take care of you." Whittier and Committee Chairman Mike Lauritzen drove down one Saturday and returned with more than enough sets of protective clothing and boots, four sets of self-contained breathing apparatus, several firefighting tools and cases of MRE(meals ready to eat) for use with both the Venture Crew as well as Boy Scout Troop 10.
But that wasn't the end of their relationship. While in Long Island Whittier was admiring some of the older apparatus on site, and much to his surprise, was offered them for the Crews' use. Brian just said: "Look, if you got a use for them and you want them, they're yours", Whittier said. Whittier and Lauritzen returned to Long Island on Saturday Sept. 8 and, after dodging tornadoes and hailstones, returned to town with a 1994 ambulance shown in the picture. "When the logistics are worked out, we'll also be the proud owners of a 1977 Mack Fire Truck," Lauritzen said.
Whittier and Lauritzen cannot say enough good things about the Terry Farrell Fund, which was established to assist firefighters and their families with educational, medical and equipment needs and it has and continues to do just that. "While we were there we saw a rescue truck donated by one department and in turn given to a needy department looking for one," Whittier said.
For more information on Venture Crew 30 you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-597-2095 or visit them on Facebook. For more information on the Terry Farrell Fund, you can go to terryfund.org.