Beacon Falls children raise funds for ambulance company

Gretchen Leeper, administrative assistant and EMT/firefighter for Beacon Hose Co. 1, demonstrates how adult back boards are two big for children by strapping in 11-year-old Salena DiRubba Friday morning at the fire house. LARAINE WESCHLER

BEACON FALLS — Griffin Davis, 8, of United Day School proudly handed $530 over to Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 EMS Director Sean Cloney when his class visited the fire house Friday morning.

Davis and his classmates raised the money Thursday by selling lemonade and baked goods at a stand on Wolfe Avenue. The schoolchildren chose to donate the proceeds from their lemonade stand to help other children.

“We can also make people’s lives better,” Davis said.

Davis said he wanted everyone to know about United Day’s lemonade stand so they could have another fundraiser and raise even more money next time.

The older children in the pre-kindergarten through grade five summer camp baked cookies and brownies with their teachers and everyone sold the refreshing drink to passers-by.

The stand, which was open for three and a half hours, raised $245, an amount the school matched. After more people found out about the fundraiser in the press, the group earned another $40 the next morning, according to the school’s co-director, Wendy Oliveira.

Oliveira said the school wanted to do something local after a recent fundraiser for soldiers in Afghanistan.

The ambulance company used the money to buy two pediatric back boards, which cost $200 each, and a pediatric reference wheel, a pocket guide to vital statistics for children of different ages, according to Cloney.

Holding up an adult back board to Salena DiRubba, 11, Gretchen Leeper, administrative assistant and EMT/firefighter, explained why the ambulance needed back boards for children. As she strapped DiRubba onto the board, it was obvious that it was oversized for her small frame.

After seeing how the fire company was going to use the money raised, Leeper took the children to see the ambulance and let them each take a turn in the driver’s seat.

Children from the United Day School summer camp pack into the back of an ambulance Friday morning at Beacon Hose Co. 1. The children donated $530 to the company. LARAINE WESCHLER


Ryan Kuhns, 7, said selling the lemonade was fun, but his favorite part was when people donated money to give to the ambulance. He said some people gave without even taking any lemonade or baked goods.

“We can keep the children healthy and alive,” he said.

Long-time firefighter and past EMS director Peter Christensen said he was amazed by the amount of money the children raised.

He said the ambulance usually sees a 10 to 20 percent spike in pediatric calls during the summer because children are involved in many activities.

“It’s a refreshing sight to see Beacon Falls kids helping Beacon Falls kids,” Cloney said. “We were truly overwhelmed by the dynamic response of the kids in Beacon Falls and we are truly thankful for their generous donation to Beacon Hose Ambulance. … With kids like this, they help Beacon Hose become number one.”