Families & Children of Fallen Firefigthers Make the Holiday Brighter for Kids of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children

FDNY Families Present St. Mary’s Kids with Banner, Holiday Decorations, Ornaments, Donations, and Gifts

After 9/11, families and children across New York grieved the loss of a fallen firefighter. Many of them gained comfort as their loved ones became heroes to millions across the world.

Today, these same families have put aside their grief and they themselves have become heroes to some of New York’s most seriously ill and injured children battling complex medical and life-limiting conditions; the kids of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

In an effort to give back to the community, families and children of fallen firefighters of New York brought smiles to the kids of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, the region’s largest provider of intensive rehabilitation, specialized care and education for children with special needs, as they arrived with bags full of toys, gift cards, and donations for the kids of St. Mary’s.

“All the families worked so hard together to design holiday ornaments and to create a huge banner for the kids of St. Mary’s. This event was to help bring our families closer together and give back to the community, and along with doing that, we gained a few more members of our family,” said Kim Ahearn, Program Director of the Line of Duty Family Connections program, created by the Counseling Service Unit of the FDNY after 9/11, to provide a circle of support and comfort for children and family members who lost an FDNY loved one in the line of duty. “It was a great success and the kids at the hospital loved every minute of it and the FDNY kids had a blast doing it.”

Over 60 family members from the LOD Family Connections program participated in the project for the kids of the Bayside hospital presenting them with handmade holiday decorations and ornaments, toys, and a banner created by FDNY families that read, “Happy Holidays, From FDNY Families.”

LOD Family Connections is aimed towards keeping children and their families united through arts & crafts projects, annual fishing trips, paintball tournaments, among other activities. This year, keeping with their mission to promote togetherness and create a close-knit family environment while bringing comfort to each other, the group decided to give back some of their creative talent to the community, and they chose St. Mary’s Kids. “We wanted to do something nice for the holidays and one of our firefighters introduced us to St. Mary’s and all the wonderful services it provides for children. It was the perfect place to give back to,” said Ms. Ahearn.