FORD CITY (KDKA) — A group of firefighters from a small town in Armstrong County is heading to Oklahoma to help a community they have never seen and people they have never met.
Lt. Josh “Tater” Adams, of the Ford Cliff Fire Department, told KDKA’s Brenda Waters, “When the whistle goes off in Ford Cliff, they go, and this time the whistle has gone off in Oklahoma.”
Five firefighters from Ford Cliff are going on the journey of a lifetime, a mission of hope.
They are driving to Oklahoma to help, along with other volunteers, after one of the most destructive tornadoes to hit the state in decades.
Twenty-four people were killed, including several children.
Joey Peluso, a junior firefighter, says he doesn’t know what to expect when he gets to Oklahoma, but is motivated by another tragedy.
“After 9/11, I became a firefighter because of that. I really wanted to help out with this natural disaster. We are going to go out and help,” said Peluso. “I would hope if something happened in my town, someone would clean up our neighborhood.”
This has become a community effort.
“We received $500 from Rose Bud Mining, $500 from Ford City VFW, and other people in the community have stepped up,” said Assistant Fire Chief Dave Orton.
The workers at the S&T Bank in Ford City donated money, and Miller’s Hoagies is making the five firefighters sandwiches for the road.
The five firefighters will head back to Armstrong County Monday.
Lt. Tag Hecker is one of the men making the trip down to Okla., and he joined KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News to talk about the trip.
“I need to thank my bosses,” he said. “When I told them what I wanted to do, they were very supportive with allowing me time off to go help others.”