Firefighters from the Wentzville Fire Protection District (WFPD) and employees of the Wentzville School District (WSD) distributed hundreds of coats to kids in need at an event held at Fire Station #1 on Saturday, October 19. WFPD firefighters partnered with Operation Warm and the Wentzville School District for the seventh consecutive year to supply nearly 300 brand new coats to elementary students identified by school district counselors. “We are so grateful for this partnership year after year with our local firefighters to support our students,” said WSD Chief Communications Officer Mary LaPak. “Wentzville firefighters work hard to not only protect and help educate our community, but their generous outreach efforts directly impact our students who need it most and we are extremely grateful for their kindness and support.” Hats and mittens collected by nurses and staff from the Burn/Transitional Care Unit, Pediatrics, and the Heart Hospital – all at Mercy Hospital St. Louis were also distributed at the event.
Operation Warm and the Coats for Kids Foundation were founded in 1998 on a national level to assist local organizations with providing quality coats to kids in need. “We look forward to this program every year,” said WFPD Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Szarwinski. “The kids get to come pick up a brand new coat to call their own that will keep them warm over the winter months, and we get to see the smiles on their faces, which make the whole effort really gratifying.” Over the past seven years, the WFPD has supplied over 4,000 coats for WSD students through Operation Warm.