Waterbury firefighters help hundreds of kids with ‘Operation Warm’

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury firefighters are used to answering the call for help. Today, they came through for hundreds of students in Waterbury Public Schools.

Firefighters have been on a mission — pitching in money to buy winter coats for 300 public school students whose families are experiencing tough times right now and couldn’t afford them.

It’s called Operation Warm.

“It makes everybody — the whole department — myself included — feel very warm and thankful for the things that we have and we like to give back to the community,” said firefighter, Greg Gyenizs.

Scores of students lined up inside the gym at Bucks Hill Elementary School to get the free coats. Firefighters also delivered them to students at Hopeville and Walsh schools.

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One student told News 8 he loves his new coat because:

“It’s cozy,” he said.

That same young student said this about firefighter, Greg Gyenizs, who he spent time talking to and exchanging high fives while waiting for his coat.

“He’s kind and caring and he protects our city,” the student said.

Related Content: Waterbury woman goes viral after giving homeless man coat

The firefighter who organized the effort hopes these kids will grow up seeing them and other authorities in a positive light.

“We’re role models to children,” said Captain Patrick Maloney. “We’re mentors to them and we want them to know that firehouses are safe places to go to when they’re in trouble and when we come to their house we’re there to help them.”

“I hope that they see the firemen and policemen we’re here for them,” Greg said. “We’re here to help them and protect them and that they grow up learning a sense of community and caring and giving for other people.”

From the looks of things today, it was mission accomplished.

“When I grow up I want to be a firefighter,” one student said.


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