November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria firefighters outfit students with winter coats

Oakwood Elementary School student Chandler Burton gives a thumbs-up as she receives her new jacket with help from Elyria Fire Chief Richard Benton on Monday in Elyria. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Oakwood Elementary School student Chandler Burton gives a thumbs-up as she receives her new jacket with help from Elyria Fire Chief Richard Benton on Monday in Elyria. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — It was all about the pockets for Emarion Burnett.

A second-grader at Oakwood Elementary School in Elyria, Emarion was thrilled to have a received a new coat from Elyria firefighters Monday morning. But what he liked best was the fact that new coat had pockets — lots and lots of pockets.

Firefighter Matt Gubanich fits Aiden Henderson’s jacket as part of Operation Warm at Crestwood Elementary School on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Firefighter Matt Gubanich fits Aiden Henderson’s jacket as part of Operation Warm at Crestwood Elementary School on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

“It has pockets on the inside and the outside,” he said, admiring them.

Elyria firefighters visited three elementary schools in Elyria — Oakwood, Crestwood and Franklin — to distribute nearly 500 new winter coats in flashy colors such as blue, green, pink, and purple to first- and second-graders.

The event was part of a larger project, Operation Warm, which is a national effort to provide free winter coats for children across the country. Last year, the Elyria Fire Department joined the program and through donations from sponsors and fundraisers, it was able to raise enough money to buy 450 coats for children in first and second grade across Elyria.

For hours Monday, firefighters helped children put on their coats, choose the right color and find the right fit.

“For us … it is just to see the smiles on kids’ faces,” firefighter Dean Marks said, discussing the most memorable part of the event.

Crestwood Principal Megan Pacione said the firefighters’ kindness won’t be forgotten.

“This is something a child will remember and literally keep close to their heart,” Pacione said.

Olivia Thorne and Zavier Stevens, first-graders at Oakwood, loved their coats and said they were excited to meet the firefighters at the school.

“They rode their truck,” Zavier said about his favorite part of the event.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • Michelle Feierabend

    So nice to read a positive and uplifting story these days. Well done EFD