Douglas firefighters present check to New Yorkers

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Douglas County was well-represented when a delegation of New York City firefighters toured Northern Nevada.

The Reno Fire Department organized the visit and presented the visitors with donations made by Reno residents to a Sept. 11 firefighters relief fund. The New Yorkers made rounds in Reno, they went to Lake Tahoe, where members of the Tahoe-Douglas fire district met them.

The East Fork Fire and Paramedic districts were also represented, thanks to Paramedic-Firefighter Capt. Ron Haskins and Paramedic-Firefighter Troy Valenzuela. Haskins and Valenzuela met the New York firefighters Monday in Reno at KOLO-TV, where they presented a check for $40,000. The money was donated by Douglas County residents.

"I wanted to get some recognition for our citizens in the Carson Valley," said Haskins. "We outdid Reno, per capita."

Haskins said Douglas County residents have donated $205,000 to date. Much of the money was collected during a "firefighters boot" drive held in the days after Sept. 11. Valenzuela and fellow Paramedic-Firefighters Brian Nelson and Greg Womble organized the fund-raiser, during which East Fork personnel volunteered to collect money at the corner of Highway 395 and Waterloo Lane. By comparison, Reno firefighters collected $305,000, Haskins said.

"I want to make sure everyone understands how important it is that the community came together to make these donations," said Haskins. "It's really touching. Those of us that set this up thought we would get $30,000 or $40,000 total. To come up with this, is phenomenal."

Haskins said he and Valenzuela visited with the New York firefighters after giving them the $40,000 check. The three are assigned to Engine Co. 217, and three other firefighters assigned to that company died Sept. 11.

"They really appreciate our support and the community's support," said Haskins.

He said he traded e-mail addresses with the New Yorkers, and they invited him to visit if he's in New York. Haskins said he plans to take them up on the offer later this year, when he attends a training academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.


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