A group of firefighters in Los Angeles was reaching beyond its borders, working with community businesses and a local college to fix up a used fire engine as a donation for the people of Haiti still reeling from the earthquake in 2010.
The Stentorians of Los Angeles County, founded in 1954, was created to band firefighters together to fight inequality.
“A stentorian is a Greek herald: A messenger with the voice of 50 men,” Capt. Jonathan Bowers said.
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake took hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced thousands more.
“We saw the massive destruction, the devastation, and as we surveyed the different departments, they just don’t have services,” Bowers said.
For this project, their collective voices asked around for local support and the Compton Fire Station donated an out-of-commission fire engine to help their fellow firefighters in Carpefour, Haiti.
“One of the issues that Carpefour had during the earthquake is it had very minimal tools so basically they were using their hands,” Bower said. “This engine is equipped…everything is on board.”
But it didn’t start that way.
“We actually were part of the rip-down, sanding, and getting it ready for paint,”
Alvaro Gomez, a former LA Trade Tech College student said.
Gomez was one of dozens of students from Los Angeles Trade Tech who donated class time to transform the engine.
“We did a lot of metal work,” Gomez said. “Actually the whole inside box was recreated.”
“They spent extra hours on it when it was getting close. They didn’t want to leave,” Brian Ferre, an instructor, said.
It took nearly three years to replace and restore parts, much of those also donated from local businesses.
“We all worked on this together. Just the experience that was gained was amazing.” Gomez said.
Gomez said he took that experience on the job as the manager of an auto body shop.
“Just to see it go to a better place and where it can be reused — to me that’s amazing,” Gomez said.
They also said the fire engine will continue to do good things. The Los Angeles Stentorians will deliver it to Haiti in January. Members will stay on the ground to help train firefighters there.
They said they now feel they have a lifelong connection from a labor of love that’s brought the community.
For more information on the Los Angeles County Stentorians, you can visit their page here.