May 5, 2017 Brooke Parkinson

Fire Explorers Humbled To Receive Grant In Honor Of Fallen Firefighter

STONEHAM, MA – The Stoneham Fire Explorer Program was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $2500 from the non-profit, Kevin Woyjeck Explorers for Life Association, which was created to provide equipment and funding to assist young men and women in their pursuit of becoming firefighters.

Kevin Woyjeck was a former Fire Explorer in Los Angeles California and was one of the fallen 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives at the Yarnel Fire in Arizona on June 30, 2013.  The association was created by Kevin’s mother, Anna Woyjeck, as a way to give back: “Being a Fire Explorer was such a huge part of Kevin’s life.” Anna said.  “He loved being an Explorer.”

The grant included $2000 for uniform outerwear and $500 for educational travel programs, respectively.

After learning of the generous grant, Blauer Manufacturing, a premier manufacturer of Public Safety Uniforms based in Boston, MA stepped up and offered an additional $1000 subsidy, allowing the Stoneham Fire Explorers to outfit each the twenty-five Fire Explorer’s with Blauer’s three season high-visibility public safety jacket.

The High Visibility jackets will allow the Explorers to be seen day or night with high contrast crosswalk reflective stripes in a classic pattern on a hi-visibility jacket. As an added benefit the jackets are certified for Public Safety use to ANSI 107: 2015 Type P Class 3 standards. This certification represents compliance with the most up-to-date standards in the industry, ensuring the highest level of safety for the Explorers.

Blauer supplied the jackets, through its distributor Guardian Uniforms of Springfield, Mass., customizing each jacket with the Stoneham Fire Explorer shoulder patch, and an American Flag patch on the opposite sleeve, as well as imprinting the word “Explorer” boldly on the back of each jacket, ensuring that the Explorers are easily identified as such.

“A grant of this kind is a great honor. For a family to create so much good from such a terrible loss is just a great way to honor their son and help so many other kids who share the same dreams and aspirations that Kevin had.” said Stoneham Auxiliary Fire Chief Richard Hastings.  “Our Explorers understand where this grant came from and have been told Kevin’s story.  Each of them have affixed a decal in Kevin’s memory to their fire helmets, a long standing tradition in the fire service used to honor the fallen.” continued Chief Hastings.

The $500 Educational Travel grant will be used to offset the cost of future field trips the Explorers will take to visit various agencies and learn more about the wider field of fire and emergency services.

Last year alone, the Explorers For Life Association was able to help countless Fire and Emergency Service Explorers from NY to LA by providing tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and tuition to explorer posts and individuals.

About the Kevin Woyjeck Explorers for Life Association:
Kevin Woyjeck was one of the fallen 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives at the Yarnel Fire in Arizona on June 30, 2013. The association was created by Kevin’s mother, Anna Woyjeck, as a way to give back: “Being a fire explorer was such a huge part of Kevin’s life. He loved being an explorer.”  In April 2013 Kevin Woyjeck was honored to join the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew in Prescott, Arizona. This was an elite crew of twenty young men in top condition with direct wildland firefighting responsibilities in any location needed. After successfully fighting fires, saving lives and property in New Mexico and Arizona, on June 30, 2013 the crew was overtaken by an out of control fire in Yarnell, Arizona.

Nineteen of the twenty young men on the crew lost their lives, including Kevin. Kevin was 21 years old. The Kevin Woyjeck Explorers For Life Association was founded to honor the memory of Kevin and his crew mates who lost their lives serving the people of Yarnell. Kevin’s goal was to follow the footsteps of his father, a captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Kevin began his quest with the Los Angeles County Fire Explorer Program and graduated on to college level studies and fighting wildland fires in the summer. Kevin was well on his way with his training and preparedness for his career as a firefighter when he lost his life.

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