Operation Warm: Local firefighters helping kids fight cold this winter

PADUCAH — Firefighters come to our rescue when there’s a fire. Local 6 found some firefighters battling more than flames — they’re fighting the cold.

It’s part of Operation Warm.

Firefighters have taken time out of their busy schedules to help children stay warm this winter.

For the past four years, Jen Fuchs with the Paducah Fire Department has helped hundreds of children.

“We’re there for them, we’re really just trying to help out,” Fuchs said. “If it’s raining or it’s snowing and they have a hooded sweatshirt on, they need warm coats.”

Fuchs said it’s a chance for them to relate to the kids and for the kids to relate to them.

“Usually when people see us, it’s on their worst day,” Fuchs said.

Thursday was one of fifth-grader Eva Kennedy’s best days.

“I don’t really have any new coats,” Kennedy said. “I don’t get that much. I only have like one or two, but I’ll have a new one to play outside.”

The firefighters and the children look forward to Operation Warm every year.

“When they stay warm, they stay healthy. And when they stay healthy, they can still manage to attend school, and they can come and get a good education. So, that’s all we’re really trying to do.” Fuchs said.

Robyn West with Clark Elementary said her favorite part is the look on children’s faces. 

“I’ve had a couple of kids ask me for the past week or so: When are the firefighters coming in to give us our coats?” West said.

Fuchs said it lets the kids know what their uniform stands for — serving those in need.

“When they leave, they can go, ‘Hey, a firefighter got me a coat, and they wrote my name, so it’s my coat,'” Fuchs said. “And that’s something a child may have never had before — their own winter coat.”

Last year the firefighters gave out about 170 coats. This year, they gave more than 200.

More coats will be handed out Friday at McNabb Elementary.

With the help of grants and fundraisers, they plan to help students again next year.

If you would like to donate, click here.

For more on this story and others, follow Pauline Fitzgerald on Facebook or Twitter.

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