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Westchester Square Civic, FDNY Hispanic Society help firefighters displaced by Sandy

Bronx Times

Firefighters who were themselves victims of Superstorm Sandy are getting help from their “brothers.”

The FDNY Hispanic Society used the Westchester Square Civic Association’s storefront as a staging area to shuttle donated supplies to firefighters, retired firefighters and their families in the areas hardest hit by Sandy in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island in the weeks following the storm.

FDNY Lieutenant G. Ricco Diaz, president of the FDNY Hispanic Society, organized the ongoing charity drive.

He said that the society has confirmation that 600 active and 400 retired firefighters were dramatically and personally affected by Superstorm Sandy.

“They are without power and some of them have no homes,” said Diaz, of Ladder 50 in Throggs Neck. “We are trying to get food and supplies to them.

He said Lou Rocco, president of the civic association, at 2514 E. Tremont Ave., “offered us the space as a distribution point since we are located in the Bronx.”

Among the items being distributed to the needy firefighter families are cleaning supplies, food, diapers, and clothes, said Diaz.

For his part, Rocco said he was glad to help in any effort to aid Superstorm Sandy victims.

“I put my life on hold to supervise the collection and distribution of these materials to Sandy victims. It became people helping people - which is the way it is supposed to be.”

“This mission is especially important,” said Diaz, “since in order for firefighters to be effective, they need to be 100% present both physically and mentally in order to effectively fight fires.”

With no new firefighters hired since 2008, there is more pressure to perform, said Diaz, of Morris Park. Adding the pressure of losing a home to Superstorm Sandy can just become unbearable, he said.

“This is the Bronx reaching out to the rest of the city,” said Diaz.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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