Tour bus company presents volunteer firefighters with donation
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department, which has worked for the past 18 months since Hurricane Sandy to help residents get back on their feet, has been given a big boost.
Executives from to Twin America, the company that operates CitySights NY, Gray Line, and other double-decker tour buses in New York, presented leaders of the volunteer fire department with a $5,000 check during a ceremony in Vollies Memorial Training Hall on May 14.
The Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department has been operating for 91 years and has been assisting Gerritsen Beach and its surrounding communities in times of emergency, including during and after the Oct. 29, 2012 super-storm. Twin America has provided free shuttle buses to volunteers coming from all over the city to help rebuild in communities like Gerritsen Beach and the Rockaways.
“We and Twin America customers want the Gerritsen Beach community and beyond to know we are here to stay and help in any way we can in the months and years to come,” said David W. Chien, head of global integrated marketing and media for Twin America. “We too are part of this fantastic New York City fabric and to see the neighborhood spring back to life over the past 18 months is truly an emotional experience, and the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department has played a pivotal role in that road to recovery. We are honored to support their important work."
Doreen Garson, chief of the Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department, said she was grateful for the donation. "It really means a lot to the people of Gerritsen Beach that more than 18 months since Super Storm Sandy, people still are looking to help us rebuild and get back on our feet. We are grateful to Twin America for their donation, which will allow the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance to continue to achieve our mission," she said.
In the immediate aftermath of the super-storm, Gothamist reported that because of Gerritsen Beach’s designation as a “B” zone, in which a mandatory evacuation was not in place, residents were not fully prepared by the storm surge. As a result, the community suffered devastating damage in the hurricane.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn), whose district includes Gerritsen Beach, attended the check presentation ceremony. Golden said the volunteer fire department acted heroically during and after the hurricane.
"In the days, weeks and months following Super Storm Sandy, the Vollies Hall served as a centralized location for thousands of folks to get food, medical attention, paperwork assistance, clothing, holiday gifts and meals, and more. Their service in our darkest days is a testament to their strength and will, and I thank Twin America for their donation, which will support the continued efforts of the Vollies to be on the front lines of emergency response and aid," Golden said
The Gerritsen Beach group provides a variety of services including storm preparation, providing necessary food and shelter to displaced residents. The organization, which is the only volunteer fire department in Brooklyn, relies on donations and fees from its community training programs to provide its volunteer services.