“When Heights High School senior Bridget Martinez was assigned a community service project as part of her International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Heights High School, her thoughts immediately jumped to firefighters.
“They’re our community protectors,” she said. “I just want to make sure that they feel appreciated and that the community gets an opportunity to give back to them.”
Martinez is hoping to raise $400 before Sept. 11 to purchase Kroger gift cards for the firefighters of local Station 62, she said. The hope is this might help them pay for groceries and other needs, she said.
“I want to tell them ‘thank you’ for all that they do, and all the hours and shifts they endure,” she said. “I really appreciate all the hard work they give to the community. I look forward to engaging the community and encouraging them to appreciate them.”
The assignment began this past summer, according to Martinez. The Heights IB program is meant to help students “demonstrate self-discipline and responsibility, develop a serious work ethic, approach tasks with a sense of purpose, learn from fellow students as well as teachers and to share with – and contribute to – the community,” according to the program’s mission statement.
And with the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 fast approaching, Martinez said the idea of helping firefighters was one of the first things that jumped to her mind as a perfect fit. So she began researching fire stations in the area and their shift schedules to see what she could do.
“As soon as I got the opportunity, I knew this was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to engage the community,” said Martinez, who said she has made the habit of occasionally stopping by the station at 1602 Seamist Drive in the Heights on 9/11 anniversaries as well as random visits to drop off pies and other goodies in previous years.
Right up until Sept. 11, community members can donate any amount they would like to the GoFundMe that Martinez has set up to help with the effort.
“I encourage you to give back to our firefighters by donating $5 or more to help gift four Kroger gift cards,” the description reads. “As they all power through hardworking shifts and countless calls, firefighter’s grocery trips can become quite expensive.”
Martinez is hoping to make the effort as much of a surprise to the firefighters as possible, but that she is excited to see the look on the first responders’ faces when they open up her gifts….”