DEARBORN HEIGHTS — After nearly a decade of support, the Dearborn Heights Fire Department is being recognized for its support of the Salvation Army.
The department first started working with the Salvation Army in 2012 when firefighters began ringing bells for the annual Red Kettle Campaign and have been volunteering every year since.
Stefano Dedonatis, a Salvation Army volunteer since 2005, said that the department’s help on the last weekend before Christmas is extremely beneficial.
“That’s usually the busiest bellringing weekend of the season,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and we have a really good time when we’re out there, wearing all of our gear and ringing the bells. It’s a great opportunity to engage with the community, and it’s something everybody enjoys.”
Before Dedonatis joined Dearborn Heights, he was a firefighter in Northville.
“I eventually called the Salvation Army to ask about becoming a volunteer,” he said. “And I’ve been doing it ever since. First during my time as a firefighter in Northville, and now with the team in Dearborn Heights.”
Fire Chief Dave Brogan said the department loves being involved with the community.
“Being involved and in the community is so important to our firefighters,” he said. “It’s always in their minds to make things better for those in need and to do better. I am always so proud of them.”
The department also runs a program through its union, called Operation WARM, where it helps provide winter coats to children with the Salvation Army’s annual Coats for Kids drive.
“We do the bell ringing and the Operation Warm, but we also work with them on their open houses and comfort trucks,” Brogan said. “We do gifts for kids around Christmas time, also. We work with them because we are both community-minded organizations and our firefighters want to help the community however we can in times of need.”
Mayor Bill Bazzi said that he, too, is proud of the department.
“Our firefighters were recently recognized by the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division for their longstanding support of the organization,” he said. “My congratulations to our outstanding firefighters for going above and beyond to keep our community safe and warm.”