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Orland Fire Foundation awards scholarships at annual fundraiser

For the third year in a row, community leaders and senior activists joined together with officials and volunteers of the Orland Fire Protection District’s Fire Foundation to raise funds for educational and training programs on lifesaving, CPR and emergency services. This year the Orland Fire Foundation also awarded three scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

The Orland Fire Prevention District’s Fire Foundation awarded scholarships during its annual fundraiser Thursday May 21 at 94 West Grille & Tavern to three graduating high school seniors who are pursuing Fire or EMS college studies.

The annual Fire Foundation event raises funds to support a wide range of programs including: donating Knox Boxes to seniors; hosting the annual Kids Fire & Life Safety Camp; providing free CPR and AED public training; and donating to other charitable fire related causes including this year to the family of Wes Peak, an Orland firefighter who died in 2014.

Patti Brucki, the volunteer coordinator for the Orland Fire Foundation, said the evening raised more than $13,000 and nearly matched the $14,000 raised at last years reception.

“This year we are most excited in announcing our inaugural scholarships for young adults who are entering fire service or emergency medical service,” Patti Brucki said in welcoming the more than 250 guests.

Orland Fire Prevention District Trustee Jayne Schirmacher introduced the three $1,000 scholarship winners. They are:

  • Amber Snedden, a graduate of Andrew High School, will be attending Loyola University in the fall to pursue a career in medicine. She has performed more than 200 hours of community service.
  • Sarah Cinquepalmi, a graduate from Sandburg High school, will be attending the University of Iowa and will study Emergency Room Nursing. She was a 4-year member of the student council and the Sandburg debate team. Sarah performed more than 406 hours of community service.
  • Mitch Zieler, a graduate of Sandburg High school, will attend Moraine Valley Community College to study Fire Sciences and hopes to become a fire chief one day.

“The Orland Fire Foundation supports public safety and education in the Orland Park community and surrounding areas through the Kids Fire & Life Safety Camp, and the Community Care Safety Program,” Patti Brucki explained.

“So if you don’t know CPR or don’t know how to use an AED, give us a call. The foundation is running free classes all the time. And if you want them to come out and do a training at your business, your school or organization, they will do that.”

From Left, Amber Snedden, Sarah Cinquepalmi, Fire Chief Ken Brucki, Mitch Zieler, OFPD Trustee Jayne Schirmacher

From Left, Amber Snedden, Sarah Cinquepalmi, Fire Chief Ken Brucki, Mitch Zieler, OFPD Trustee Jayne Schirmacher

Fire Chief Ken Brucki acknowledged the local public officials who attended and support the foundation reception. They included Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, Orland Park Village Manager Paul Grimes, High School District 230 Supt. Dr. James Gay, School District 135 Supt. Janet Stutz from, Orland Village Trustees Dan Calandriello, Michael Carroll, and Carole Griffin Ruzich, and Fire District Trustees John Brudnak, Chris Evoy, Blair Rhode and Jim Hickey.

“This is another example of how our taxing bodies are working together for you and for our residents. It takes all of us. It takes a village. It takes a community,” Chief Brucki said.

Each year since 2013, the OFPD Foundation has donated money to underwrite programs that include providing Knox Boxes to Seniors, offering public CPR and Emergency response training, supporting the annual children’s fire and life safety camp, and donating to other fire-related charitable needs.

“All of these programs help raise public awareness of emergency safety issues and support important community causes,” said Patricia Brucki, who serves as the Foundation’s volunteer coordinator.

The Knox Box is a home security system that allows firefighters to enter homes in response to emergency calls when the homeowner may not be able to respond or open the door. The OFPD Foundation provides support to purchase Knox Boxes on loan to senior citizens and individuals who are disabled.

The evening’s food was donated for the third year in a row by attorneys Jim Roche and Burton S. Odelson. Entertainment was provided by Donny O and Rhonda Lee.

Other Foundation members and volunteers included members of the Senior Advisory Council members Diana Husband, Mane Pritza, and Pete Stoncius, and retired and active Fire District personnel including R.J. Stachnik, Gerry Strunka, Joan Pickens, Bob Palermo, Stephanie Koenig, Senior Advisory Council Coordinator Rosemaria DiBenedetto, and community members Janette Walsh and Jerry Ruggio.

Raffle prizes were donated by Vera Bradley, and donated services from Uncle Julio’s, Texas Roadhouse, Giordano’s, Orland bakery, and Q spa.

Attendees also donated bags of food that were delivered to the Orland Food Pantry.

For more information and to see a full list of the contributors and sponsors of the foundation event, visit the Orland Fire Protection District website at www.OrlandFire.org.

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