Roderick Crosby American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary members served a turkey dinner Sunday to covering firefighters at the Farmington Fire Station and other first responders. American Legion members Paul Dalrymple and Ron Smith help serve the meal to firefighters from the Brunswick department. Courtesy of Ann Bryant

FARMINGTON — Firefighters, their families, police and other first responders gathered Sunday evening around long tables set up in the truck bays at Farmington Fire Department to share a turkey dinner together.

Members of Roderick Crosby American Legion Post 28 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 hosted and provided the meal. They plan to continue providing a meal each Sunday evening for some period of time, Legion Commander Matthew Smith, said.

All firefighters, their families, retired firefighters and first responders are welcome to come to the meal which is served at 5:30 p.m.

It is about gathering as a family to talk and share especially with those on duty from other towns. A  Sunday meal used to be a special event for many families and we want Sunday evening to be a time for this family to sit down together, Smith said.

The American Legion is one of several local organizations, businesses, and private citizens who have stepped up to provide a meal for the covering firefighters. They are working 12-hour shifts and sleeping on air mattresses set up in the conference room on the third floor of the Municipal Building, said Stephan Bunker, firefighter, town selectman and legion member as he greeted people at Sunday’s meal.

Fire departments from across the state have provided crews and equipment to help the Farmington department since the explosion of the LEAP building on September 16 when a LEAP maintenance manager and five firefighters were injured and one firefighter killed, he said.

People were so generous and brought more food than we could refrigerate last week. The meals have since been organized so that each meal is covered, he said.

Sunday nights were allotted to us, said Smith. The menu will include meatloaf for this coming Sunday, Sept. 29, with the menu changing each week.

While the American Legion and Auxiliary provided the turkey dinner, they are seeking help to continue with the meals. People are welcome to help with either food or financial donations. To offer a food donation, contact Tom Saviello by email at [email protected] or Matt Smith at 491-2743 or for monetary donations, either Smith or Tom Wilson, Legion financial officer, at 703-795-3044.

While the department always appreciates the mutual aid given by local fire departments, the larger state brotherhood of fire fighters and the outpouring of support from local citizens has shown the strength of the firefighters bonds and the generosity of the public, Bunker said.

Town management has quickly endorsed the departments readiness to come and help, he said. They know the Farmington department would be one of the first to go and help them.

The covering crews even stepped up to help with the Farmington department’s two booths at Farmington Fair last week. Proceeds from the booth help support scholarships for Mt. Blue High School students and other charitable causes supported by the department, he said.

 

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