Last night, over 400 people attended the second annual Houston Fire Fighter Appreciation Dinner and raised over $250,000 to support our Houston fire fighters. These funds are used to purchase ancillary equipment for the Department that is not covered by the City's budget. Last year, the Foundation purchased grinders to cut burglar bars, blood oxygen monitors and infrared cameras for the Department. The Foundation also made contributions to support the Department's Drum and Pipe Corps and Honor Guard.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was former New York Fire Commissioner, Thomas Von Essen. Commissioner Von Essen was the commissioner at the time of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. He shared his recollections of that day, including seeing hundreds of fire fighters rush into the World Trade Center in attempt to rescue the people trapped there, even though they knew there was a significant chance the building would collapse. Many of the fire fighters that answered the call that day were not even on duty, but came anyway. When the buildings did collapse, 343 fire fighters perished. Commissioner Von Essen remarks were both inspirational and heart breaking.
For those of you who participated last night, I want to express my appreciation of your support. If you have not yet become involved with the Foundation, I would encourage you to do so. You can learn more about the Foundation and how you can help our Houston fire fighters at http://www.fffhouston.com