Somerville Firefighters Local 76 Deliver 300+ Coats to Local Children



When a Somerville fire truck arrived at the YMCA on Highland Avenue Thursday afternoon, it was no routine call. The truck was loaded with more than 200 coats that Mayor Joe Curtatone and the Somerville Firefighters Local 76 distributed to children from pre-school to junior high. The remaining 100 coats were donated to the East Somerville Community School Friday morning.


The coats are part of a fundraising project of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, the umbrella organization for local fire unions across the state. In total, the union donated 2,050 coats to children in Brockton, Dorchester, Fall River, Hyannis, Springfield and Somerville. All of the 212 local unions donated to the overall effort and BNY Mellon provided a matching grant of $25,000.


The coats are brand new and made in the USA through Operation Warm, a national, non-profit organization that has provided new coats to more than 1.7 million children in need.


“We see people at their worst, when we respond to a house fire or medical emergency,” said Somerville Fire Lt. Jay Colbert, who is also secretary-treasurer of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. “It’s important for us to give back to the communities we represent, and this donation is the collective effort of firefighters across the state, along with the generosity of BNY Mellon. In a profession often met with heartache and tragedy being able to give more than 300 children in Somerville – and 2,050 across the state – a new coat is truly special.”


Mayor Joe Curtatone joined the firefighters to help distribute the coats at the YMCA, stressing the importance of staying warm and healthy to succeed in school. “We want to keep you healthy so you can excel in school, sports and other activities.”


“A lot of the men and women on the Somerville Fire Department grew up in the city and used to come to the YMCA,” said Tom Ross, president of the Somerville Firefighters Local 76.


The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts represent more than 12,000 career firefighters across the state from 212 locals. More information can be found at


In 2012 Operation Warm and the International Association of Firefighters launched a partnership that spans the US and Canada. The organization has provided more than 1.7-million coats to children in need.


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