Bridgeport Firefighters, Creators Of 26 Angels Fund, Thank First Responders

Photo: Shannon Hicks

Speaking as a Sandy Hook resident, the mother of two children, and wife of a Bridgeport firefighter, Kristen Boroskey, third from left, thanked Sandy Hook firefighters for being part of the effort of recovery following 12/114. Bridgeport firefighters have launched The 26 Sandy Hook Angels Fund, and are hoping to help pay for a carousel to be gifted to the town of Newtown. With Mrs Boroskey, from left are Paul and Madison Boroskey; in her arms is the couple's son Will.

Members of Bridgeport Fire Department were in Sandy Hook on April 6, visiting the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue main station to share gifts and some news.

Bridgeport Firefighter Cef Rivera and his daughter Jasmine had decided, after hearing of a project that would bring a carousel to Sandy Hook, to design T-shirts that would be sold to not only honor Newtown residents following 12/14, but would also raise funds for the carousel.

“Cef and I spoke about the carousel, and decided that a fund would be created to help bring a carousel to Newtown as a symbol of not only the lives lost on December 14, but also as a symbol of peace, hope, joy, and innocence,” said Kirsten Borosky, whose husband Bill is also a member of Bridgeport FD. Mrs Boroskey, a teacher in Ridgefield, was able to reach out to the women in Ridgefield who are spearheading the carousel project, she said.

The Boroskeys live in Sandy Hook with their two children. Their daughter Madison is a first grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I will live with the heartbreaking memories of December 14 every day for the rest of my life,” Mrs Boroskey said, standing with her husband, holding their son Will in her arms, and with Madison standing between her two parents. To Mrs Boroskey’s right was a group of Bridgeport firefighters and their children. To her left was Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead and a group of Sandy Hook firefighters, listening as she spoke.

The T-shirts designed by Cef and Jasmine have the word Newtown across the front. A green band runs under Newtown, with white lettering in a chalkboard font that says Together We Are Stronger. In addition, the O in Newtown is larger than the rest of the letters in the word. Inside the letter is the number 26, with a gold halo over the 26 and the date 12-14-12 below it. Also within the O are the words Sandy Hook Elementary School Newtown, CT.

The back of the shirts feature a larger green band, again with white lettering in a chalkboard font. Three lines on the “chalkboard” read A New Town Of Hope / A New Town Of Unity / A New Town Of Angels. Above the chalkboard are the words We Are A New Town; below it are the words We Are Newtown, CT. The T-shirts have been sold to friends and family of Bridgeport firefighters, but on April 6 the group gathered in Newtown to present a batch to the Sandy Hook firefighters.

“I am so honored to be here,” Mrs Boroskey said. “I speak today not only for myself but also my husband Bill, our children, and my husband’s colleagues and friends Cef Rivera, Lieutenant Paul Neugenbauer, [Newtown resident] Tim Guise, Rich Rivera and Lieutenant Everall Wallen from Bridgeport Fire Department, when I say thank you to you all.

“Every day, you risk your own lives for ours, and there are no words that could possibly express the depth of gratitude we feel for you all. Never would any of us have thought that the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook on December 14 could possibly happen here in Newtown,” she continued, her voice breaking. “We’d like to honor you all today for your selfless generosity.”

After Mrs Boroskey finished her comments, her daughter tentatively approached Chief Halstead. Carrying a white paper bag with handles, a few T-shirts rolled up inside the bag, the young girl handed the bag to the fire chief, who smiled down at her and said, “Thank you.”

Will Boroskey then carried a small green box to the chief, which was also accepted with thanks. The box, Mr Rivera later said, contained a number of auto decals with the 26 Sandy Hook Angels logo on them.

Behind the Boroskey children, other children of Bridgeport firefighters began making their way across the room, taking turns handing similar bags to Chief Halstead and Sandy Hook firefighters.

In addition to the T-shirts, a box of helmet stickers was presented by Lt Neugenbauer to Chief Halstead, also a gift from the Bridgeport group.

Mr Rivera said this week that he and others working for the fund are in talks with the athletic directors at St Joseph High School in Trumbull and Staples High School in Westport to have athletes wear helmet stickers on their uniforms. They expect to reach out soon to Newtown High School.

“We’re trying to get this trinity working, where the three high schools will hopefully begin wearing the helmet decals,” said Mr Rivera. “We’re even thinking about going to the college level, too. We’re looking to really make this a big event with the schools, to see if they’ll wear the helmet decals for a year or two.”

By the end of the week the fund expects to have a Facebook page set up, and within a few weeks, according to Mr Rivera, “we will have 26SandyHookAngels set up on many domains — .com, .org and .net.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rivera and Mrs Boroskey are both hoping to continue offering the T-shirts in the community.

“We have about $1,000 in the account right now,” Mr Rivera said April 6. “We really want to go big.”

“The vision for the carousel is gorgeous,” Mrs Boroskey said after the presentation had been completed. “It will be completely self-sustained. It will not cost the town a thing.

“It is not going to be a monument. It is not going to be a memorial,” she continued. “It will be a gift to the town, and something that will be great for our kids for generations.”

The T-shirts are available in men’s and women’s styles, and are $15 for most sizes. Men’s XXL shirts are $17, and XXXL are $18. Men’s shirts are available in gray and deep green, with crewneck collars; women’s shirts are light blue, with V-neck collars.

To order one immediately, contact Cef Rivera at 203-520-9632.

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