(AREA) -- What started out as an idea to help out Hurricane Sandy victims in New York, Speaker Township Firefighter Steven Schmidt turned the effort into an overwhelming response of support from the Sanilac County Fire Association and its members, helping four volunteer firefighter families in the Long Beach, New York area. Steve, Applegate Fire Chief Jeff Johnston, Grant Township Assistant Chief Dave Farr, and Sandusky firefighters Brad Harris and Nick Lusher went to all 20 fire departments in the Sanilac County Fire Association to explain the project and ask for donations. All 20 departments donated with members donating out of there own pockets. A total of $6,450 was raised through the Applegate, Argyle, Brown City, Burtchville Township, Carsonville, Croswell, Deckerville, Delaware Township, Elk Township, Grant Township, Kenockee Township, Lamotte Township, Lexington, Marlette, Minden City, Moore Township, Port Sanilac, Sandusky, Speaker Township, Yale/Brockway and the Argyle Township Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
Tubbs Brothers of Sandusky donated a car for the trip out to New York and NMJ Transport/Frank and Lori Lusher of Carsonville, Owens Warriors and the Douglas Family of Carsonville, and the Tony Minard family donated funds for travel expenses. Steve, Jeff, Brad and Nick were able to hand deliver the donations to each family and see first hand the damage of Hurricane Sandy.
Warren Jasse of the Point Lookout Volunteer Fire Department was the first recipient. Warren is married with two children. The family lost their home and everything they owned. They are currently living with relatives.
The second recipient was Lieut. Margaret Rodriguez of the Island Park Volunteer Fire Department. She is a single mother of two younger children that lost everything, including her hair salon. She is currently cutting hair in the fire house. During Hurricane Sandy, Island Park ran 1,000 calls.
The third recipient was Ryan Cassidy of the Merrick Volunteer Fire Department (Empire Hose Co. 3). Ryan and his wife lost their home and belongings in the storm. Ryan and Empire Hose Co. 3 provided accommodations at their station for Jeff, Brad, Steve and Nick for the night.
The fourth recipient was Chief William Allen of the Wantagh Volunteer Fire Department. Chief William is married and has five children. During the storm they had lost everything. Chief William was in New Orleans during the storm for a fire conference. He had to drive home due to flights being canceled during the storm to get to his family.
Due to the overwhelming response from the local fire departments, a fifth donation was given to the Long Beach Fire Department to buy presents for the firefighter's children. The Long Beach Fire Department lost their fire apparatuses except for the ambulance. Equipment has been donated to help them out. Some of their area was waist deep in water or higher in areas as they tried to fight fires and provide rescues during the storm.
The Nassau County New York Fire Departments would like to thank the Sanilac County Fire Association for pulling together during these hard times of the economy and holiday season to help support their brothers and sisters during these hard times. The Sanilac County Fire Association committee would like to thank all of the departments involved and Sandusky Fire Chief Todd Hillman and Brown City Fire Chief Jim Groat for getting contacts and helping make arrangements for the trip to New York.