Alligator lunches help New York firefighters recover from Sandy - - The News for South Mississippi

Alligator lunches help New York firefighters recover from Sandy


Potato salad, baked beans and alligator. That was part of the menu at a fundraiser put on by the Biloxi Fire Department to help New York firefighters affected by Hurricane Sandy. Biloxi firefighters said the aftermath of a major natural disaster is especially hard on first responders.

Customers lined up at the Biloxi Firefighters Museum Friday for a hot barbecue lunch plate. While it was nice to fill their stomachs, they also wanted help Biloxi firefighters meet their Hurricane Sandy fundraising goals.

"My entire family is fire department just about," said customer Brandon Roberts. "I just felt I needed to come out and support it."

Biloxi firefighters worked in support of a non profit organization called Friends Of Firefighters. The organization will in turn distribute the money to firefighters in New York's Breezy Point and Rockaway Point communities.

Firefighter Michelle Crowley said, "Some are flooded. Some have lost their homes. And there's no infrastructure right now. They're all trying to get back on their feet like we did during Hurricane Katrina."

After having gone through Katrina, firefighters in Biloxi said they know how difficult it is to be a public servant while at the same time deal with a crisis at home.

"For first responders it's a double stress because not only are we trying to take care of our community, but we've been hit personally also," said Crowley. "So we have to deal with double stress on both ends of spectrum. And this makes it a little bit tougher for us to come back."

Firefighters said the bond among all those who do the job that runs deep.

"I'm a firefighter and we have brothers up in New York that came and helped us when we were at our low point," said R.J. Swetman, Biloxi firefighter. "Now they're at low point and they're struggling up there I want to do whatever I can to help. We're all in this together."

Crowley said, "No matter where we are it seems we all have a common goal and a common job to do. Seems like we all come together. It doesn't matter if you're up in New York or down here on the Gulf Coast, we all come together like brothers and sisters."

The Gautier Firefighters Cooking team provided the barbecue for the fundraiser while Beau Rivage donated the side items.

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