St. Mark's Ecuador Outreach
|Our companion church in La Pila Ecuador - Santiago Apostole Eiscopal Church||
St. Mark's Outreach program efforts in Ecuador
were recently highlighted in the Nashville Tennessean
City's firefighters lacked
safety gear, needed new truck
When a steel beam from an incinerated building fell on firefighter Steven Failor, it really shook up his wife, Melanie, he said.
Steven Failor said the protective gear he was wearing was probably the only thing that saved his life.
|Ecuador Fire Truck|
So, when Melanie Pafford-Failor visited Montecristi, Ecuador, and discovered that the local firefighters there did not have such protective gear, it particularly disturbed her. This was the impetus for a recent donation of a fire truck to the Montecristi fire department.
Pafford-Failor was with a group from her church, St. Mark's Episcopal on Murfreesboro Pike, in 2005 when she visited the little town of Montecristi and decided to take photos of the local fire station. This is something she usually does on vacation, because her husband is a firefighter, she said.
"When I took the picture, they started telling me about their lack of equipment and need for a new truck," she said.
Pafford-Failor said the firefighters didn't even have fire suits.
"All they had to wear was a thick cotton jacket. They fight fires in street clothes. It's not that uncommon," she said. "They just don't have the funds to buy protective gear."
Old gear donated
So, Pafford-Failor took photos to take back to her husband. In April 2006, he went back with her to check it and see what they needed.
Failor described what he saw as "a crying shame."
"That's gear American firefighters were using in the 1960s. That's how bad it was," he said.
The firefighters gave the Failors a handmade piggy bank and asked for any help they could give.
"When we got back, we started contacting fire departments to see if they wanted to donate their old gear," Pafford-Failor said. Some were willing to donate, but they quickly learned this would be a very slow process, she said.
Steven Failor then found out about Mutual Aid Americas Inc. through Firehouse, a trade magazine. This is an organization that solicits used fire equipment and saves it until someone decides to donate it. The organization then has the equipment shipped to its destination. A fire station from Stanford, Conn., donated a truck that the Failors, their church, colleagues and friends had sent to Montecristi.
The Failors were able to raise $7,500, enough money for the shipment of the truck; gear for 25 firefighters; 15 air packs, which are the devices firefighters use to help them breathe; and training.
"It's used, but it's far better than what they had," Failor said about the equipment.
Failor sees the donation as helping an extended part of his family. "We're all brothers," he said. "There's a bond between firefighters. I don't think it's like any other bond."
Pafford-Failor pointed out how the donation is for the safety of the entire community of Montecristi.
But it's particularly meaningful to her as the wife of a firefighter.
"As a firefighter's wife, safety is very important, because I want him to make it home after his shift," Pafford-Failor said.
"And if I can help someone else's father, brother, husband, son get home safe, that means a lot."
|More Ecuador Pictures click here|
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