On Thursday, July 30, Drew Gerken, of the Omaha Fire Department, was presented the Firefighter Hero Award from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and MAGLITE®.
Gerken was honored in a ceremony on July 30 by MAGLITE® and the NFFF for his ongoing efforts to help families in need after they experience a devastating fire. Drew assists families, who have lost their material possessions in a fire, by replacing the furnishings they need to help them return to some level of normalcy. Drew organizes teams of volunteers who pick up and deliver donated furniture to the families in need.
“Drew is a firefighter in Omaha who goes far beyond the call of duty. After seeing the devastation that fires cause and the negative impact they have on families, Drew decided to do something about it. Often, fires strike those who are least prepared to rebound from them. Families are left with nothing and rely on the goodwill of others to get back on their feet. Knowing this, Drew began asking for donations of used furniture that could be given to those in need of a helping hand. On his own time Drew organizes volunteers to remove donated furniture from homes and delivers it to needy families. Over the years, this operation has grown, and Drew has helped numerous people in the Omaha area in need of assistance; making the community a better place”, said Battalion Chief Jason Bradley. ”Omaha Firefighter Drew Gerken is a credit to not only the department, but to the City of Omaha. His selfless dedication is a true illustration of a public servant. Drew is making an impact in this community every day and is a fine example of a human being and firefighter.”
Over the years that this program has been in existence, Gerken’s efforts has helped hundreds of families and thousands of people through the Furniture Project.
“It’s always a good day when we can take the time to acknowledge the great work being done by firefighters and fire departments around the country,” said Chief Ronald Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “Thanks to MAGLITE, this is a nationwide effort to honor the heroic deeds of firefighters. It also highlights the different ways firefighters perform these heroics deeds. It’s not only on scenes of emergency incidents, sometimes it’s by providing needed support to civilians in their communities that have been devastated by a tragic event.”
The Firefighter Hero Award program is a joint effort between MAGLITE® and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The program periodically honors single firefighters, groups, or whole departments for extraordinary commitment to upholding excellence in firefighting and related activities.
“Heroes come in many forms and we are very happy to honor the efforts of this firefighter in Omaha who has done so much to help victims of fires get their lives back to as normal as possible as quickly as possible,” said Anthony Maglica, Founder and CEO of Mag Instrument Inc. “Firefighters like Drew Gerken are why we are committed to supporting this program and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. I am very happy to honor this true hero with this award and a donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in his name which will be permanently displayed on a brick at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Walk of Honor®.”
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