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Thread: The Leary Firefighters Foundation

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    The Leary Firefighters Foundation

    http://www.learyfirefighters.org/
    Founded by Worcester native, actor Denis Leary.

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    Honorary Chief Leary



    Worcester, Mass.


    Leary presents $400,000
    Thursday, February 7, 2002

    By Richard Duckett
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- The Worcester Firefighters Local 1009 Equipment Fund picked up $400,000 yesterday.
    Meanwhile, the city of Worcester named a new

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    LEARY FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION

    COMEDIAN LEARY A $TAND-UP GUY FOR FDNY FAMILIES

    By SIMON CRITTLE
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NO JOKE:
    Longtime friend Michael Simon nominated Denis Leary for The Post's Liberty Awards Ambassador Medal in recognition of the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which gave $3,500 to each of the families of firefighters killed Sept. 11.
    - Albert Ferreira


    July 29, 2002 -- While Denis Leary's charity work for firefighters has made headlines, what's not well know is that he might easily have been a smoke-eater himself had he not made it in showbiz.
    "You had three choices in my family," he told The Post. "You either became a Teamster, which is what my brother did, or a cop, which is what many of my cousins did, or a fireman, which my cousin Jerry [Lucey] did.

    "I happened to be the one oddball."

    The rest is history. Instead of becoming a firefighter, the 45-year-old comedian, who plays a cop in the ABC show "The Job," went on to become a celebrity - and one who's just been nominated for a New York Post Liberty Medal.

    The path to this latest honor began in 1999 when Leary's boyhood buddy Tommy Spencer died along with four other firefighters in his hometown of Worcester, Mass.

    Leary realized he had an opportunity to give back.

    "My brother said to me 'You've got to start a foundation,' " he said.

    The New York-based Leary Firefighters Foundation began by raising money for the victims of the Worcester fire, but after Sept. 11, the star broadened its scope to include the FDNY.

    The foundation gave each of the 343 firefighting families who lost a loved one in the Twin Towers attack a check for $3,500.

    Leary was nominated for The Post's Liberty Awards Ambassador Medal by Michael Simon, his longtime friend who helps with the charity.

    Leary said now is the time to make sure fireman have what they need.

    "Now we all know how great fireman are and what they do for a living," he said. "I don't want it to go out of fashion."


    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/53565.htm


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    Leary Firefighters Golf Tounament

    Leary Firefighters Golf Tournament
    WORCESTER

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    Firefighter fund-raiser moving

    May 07. 2003 5:27AM

    Firefighter fund-raiser moving

    Hat Trick will return to Centrum

    Chris Echegaray
    TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    WORCESTER- The annual hockey game held by the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which benefits the city's Fire Department, is moving to the FleetCenter in Boston on Sept. 28-29 this year.

    Actor and comedian Denis Leary, president of the Leary Firefighter Foundation, said that the event is being billed as "Hockey's Greatest for America's Bravest." It will feature 20 of the best hockey players with a half-dozen celebrities mixed in on the two teams.

    Mr. Leary said that the one-time-only event with the hockey greats was brainstormed to give the fund-raiser a different twist.

    "Also, it's a selfish reason," Mr. Leary, an avid hockey fan, said with a grin during an interview after a press conference yesterday.

    "I get to skate with a great bunch of guys."

    For three years, Mr. Leary's foundation has held the Celebrity Hat Trick at the Worcester Centrum Centre. The event has been well-attended each year, with more than 8,000 spectators. The annual hockey game has raised a little more than $1 million.

    Philip J. Niddrie, the city's chief development officer, said that the initial reaction is to frown on having the event leave the city where it started, but the cause is too important.

    "The obvious reaction is to keep it," he said. "The move to a larger venue would give opportunity for additional funding for these issues. I'm kind of torn but at the same time this would allow additional funding to fire departments."

    Organizers say that the Leary Foundation events will return to Worcester.

    "It will always come back," said Candace Coakley, a spokeswoman for the Leary Firefighters Foundation. "Even with the foundation going national there will always be events in Worcester."

    Mayor Timothy P. Murray said the Leary Foundation is trying to keep the fund-raising event fresh and have the flexibility to move to other venues.

    "They are trying to tap into new crowds, a new audience," Mr. Murray said. "They will come back. They want to move it around so they can educate people. The end result is that we are appreciative of the committee and what it's meant benefiting the Fire Department."

    Mr. Leary's announcement of Hockey's Greatest for America's Bravest came on the heels of the presentation of a $300,000 check to the city's Fire Department.

    Mr. Leary wouldn't list the players involved in the benefit just yet, but did mention that Cam Neely, who was at yesterday's press conference, will be on the team. He said there will be six celebrities, including himself, Tim Robbins, Michael J. Fox, and Kiefer Sutherland.

    Representatives from the Centrum say they don't feel slighted by the move to Boston. They said the foundation has assured them that events will return to Worcester.

    John P. LaHair, director of marketing at the Centrum Centre, said that the Centrum had been informed by the foundation of the switch in format of the hockey game. He said that the Centrum looks forward to having the foundation come back.

    "They wanted to try something different," Mr. LaHair said yesterday. "The dialogue we've had most certainly assures that events will be in Worcester."

    Mr. LaHair, who said that the Centrum has booked Iron Maiden and American Idol 2 for the summer, said that the foundation's work is rooted in Worcester.

    "Denis Leary is not somebody to forget his roots," he said. "It started in Worcester and it's the concept behind it. I'm sure the organization's mission statement paints that picture."

    Dennis Leary speaks at a press conference yesterday in Worcester, dedicating a new firefighting tower. (T&G Staff / BETTY JENEWIN

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    Leary urges firefighter support Smoke pours from new burn tower

    May 07. 2003 12:00AM

    Leary urges support for "first line of defense'

    Leary urges firefighter support Smoke pours from new burn tower

    Chris Echegaray
    TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


    WORCESTER- If Denis Leary had his druthers, he would light a fire in the garbage basket of the New York City mayor. Mr. Leary would then let Mayor Michael Bloomberg wait a minute to see what happens with the fire.

    "He wants to shut down eight firehouses," Mr. Leary said yesterday at a press conference at Worcester Fire Headquarters, 141 Grove St. "The mayor is going to reduce the response time by a minute. A minute may not seem like much - unless you're in the boxing ring or in a fire."

    Mr. Leary, president of the Leary Firefighters Foundation, presented a check for $300,000 to the local Fire Department yesterday. His foundation has raised more than $1 million since the fire tragedy of Dec. 3, 1999, when six city firefighters perished in a warehouse blaze.

    Firefighters and family and friends of the six firefighters were there for the presentation. Mr. Leary, a Worcester-born comedian, actor and director, started the foundation shortly after the fire, which claimed the life of a cousin, Firefighter Jeremiah Lucey, and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer, a childhood friend.

    He's been an ardent supporter of firefighters, raising money for the families of the New York City firefighters who perished Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorist attacks brought down the World Trade Center towers.

    "I'm very proud on what we've done here," Mr. Leary said. "We were the second fastest charity to get the money to the families. All the money. Not one cent went to administrative costs."

    Mr. Leary spoke about some facts that should grab the nation's attention: Only one out of 10 fire departments are properly equipped and trained to combat hazardous materials, biological and chemical disasters.

    Mr. Leary, who jokingly admitted that he has a problem focusing, said that the country is also suffering from attention deficit disorder when it comes to realizing the importance of firefighters.

    "I know I have ADD," he said. "But the country seems to have ADD. After 9-11, there is no better example of what firefighters do. It's absolutely insane."

    Since 2000, Mr. Leary's foundation, with EMC Corp. as a major sponsor, has held Celebrity Hat Trick, a fund-raising event that benefits the city's Fire Department. The department uses the money for training and equipment.

    Behind the Grove Street fire station is a new training facility, a red burn tower - a product of the fund-raising. The Fire Department put on an exhibition after the press conference. Smoke billowed from the tower as a fire burned inside. Firefighters went to work, showing the audience how firefighting is done. They used ropes to rappel down the side of the building.

    The building was officially named The Leary Firefighters Foundation and EMC Corp. Burn Tower and Training Facility. It will serve 60 fire departments in Worcester County.

    Frank P. Raffa, president of the firefighters union, said that in light of the city's tough economic times, the foundation's fund-raising is even more important to the Fire Department.

    "The value of this is so important," he said. "Without the Leary Foundation and EMC, without their help this training facility would be just a dream."

    Mr. Leary has taken his efforts to an international level. He said that during a trip to Ireland in connection with supporting firefighters he had a conversation with a New York businessman who was there. Mr. Leary said that the businessman spoke about how firefighters earn a lot of money, around $100,000.

    "I couldn't believe what he said," Mr. Leary said. "There has to be a way to get the information out. These guys make around $32,000. They should be categorized like the military. They are the first line of defense."

    Throughout the morning yesterday, Mr. Leary talked to many of the attendees, gave time to reporters and talked about hockey, baseball and the opportunity to skate with hockey greats.

    http://www.learyfirefighters.org/

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    Fire safety in numbers

    Friday, September 12, 2003

    Celebrity lends a hand as pupils get lessons

    Martin Luttrell
    TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    WORCESTER- They didn't understand all his jokes. Heck, most of them didn't even know who he was. But the Burncoat Elementary School pupils had fun during yesterday's talk with comedian and television/film star Denis Leary, who held an informal fire safety quiz at the Grove Street station.

    The appearance of Mr. Leary, a Worcester native, coincided with the 10th annual Fire Safety Day, in which kindergarten and first-grade classes visit the station to talk with firefighters and see the equipment they use.

    Mr. Leary, who was in town for the day from his New York City home, used the opportunity to talk about the Sept. 28 Celebrity Hat Trick hockey fund-raiser at the FleetCenter in Boston. The game will benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which has provided more than $1 million to the Worcester department for equipment and a training facility.

    During yesterday's program, Mr. Leary chatted with the children after firefighters served them pizza from Papa Gino's, which has sponsored 10 annual fire safety open houses at the station.

    One kindergarten boy reached out with his left hand and grabbed Mr. Leary's right hand, looked up and smiled silently. Mr. Leary chuckled and shook his head, imagining what the kids were thinking.

    "Free pizza, and I'm not in school, that's all I know," he said.

    During a fire safety quiz he tested the kids' knowledge, getting several shouted responses to each question.

    "What do you do if your house is on fire?" he asked the group.

    "Crawl under the smoke," shouted Cole Duverger, a 6-year-old in Kim Pizzarella's first-grade class. His correct response was met with applause from the children, firefighters and Mr. Leary.

    A few minutes later the boy was asked who Mr. Leary was.

    "I don't know," he said. "I think he's on TV."

    Chief Gerard A. Dio said fire safety personnel visit each school four times a year to give safety instruction, along with "Pluggie," the remote-controlled yellow fire hydrant robot who speaks with the kids.

    "This is the age where we have the most fire deaths, the young and the very old," he said.

    "As they age, their lessons get more complex," he said of the fire safety instruction they receive. "At this age, it's more entertainment, but over time it gets ingrained in them."

    Mr. Leary launched The Leary Firefighters Foundation after the December 1999 fire at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building, which killed six firefighters, including his cousin, Jeremiah M. Lucey.

    Tickets for the hockey game are $25 and $50, and are available through Ticketmaster at (617) 931-2000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information visit www.learyfirefighters.org.


    Worcester Fire Lt. Richard W. Halvorsen and Denis Leary give Burncoat Elementary School pupils a fire safety quiz at the Grove Street fire station in Worcester Thursday.
    (T&G Staff / PAUL KAPTEYN)
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    Celebrity game may be Orr's last

    Monday, September 29, 2003

    Celebrity game may be Orr's last

    Kerry dons skates, scores an assist Leary hasn't yet decided on venue for next year

    Mark Melady
    TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


    BOSTON- Bobby Orr laced 'em up for what he said was likely the last time in yesterday's Celebrity Hat Trick that produced its first on-ice assist by a presidential candidate, an emotionally charged national anthem by the daughter of a Worcester firefighter serving in Iraq and doubt that the event will be back in Worcester next year.

    Billed as "Hockey's Greatest Skate for America's Bravest," the game raised about $500,000 for several fire departments, including in Worcester, Boston and New York City.

    The mix of mostly film and television star hockey buffs as well as hockey legends drew about 15,000 to the FleetCenter, the first time in its four-year history the game has been played outside Worcester.

    Chief organizer, comedian/actor and Worcester native Denis Leary said the site of next year's event has not been decided.

    Asked whether he intended to return to Boston next year, Mr. Leary said a decision won't be made until he consults with Mr. Orr, whose affiliation with the event was credited with boosting ticket sales.

    "We haven't talked about where we'll play yet," Mr. Leary said of next year's venue. "I'll sit down with Bobby Orr in the next few days and we'll see what happens."

    Mr. Leary began the Leary Firefighters Foundation in 2000 in response to the 1999 Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire that killed six Worcester firefighters, including Mr. Leary's cousin, Jeremiah Lucey.

    Since then the foundation has distributed more than $1 million to the Worcester Fire Department for a new training facility and burn tower, used by firefighters from Central Massachusetts.

    The foundation has also contributed $1.8 million to families of the 343 firefighters who died in the 9-11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks and funds for a New York Fire Department mobile command post.

    While Aerosmith was the rumored national anthem performer, the job fell to Worcester's Jillian Russell, who left a New York City recording studio at 3 a.m. Sunday to go to Boston to sing a powerful rendition in front of the largest audience of her career.

    "I sang it for my father," she said after leaving the ice to a long ovation. Passing Boston firefighters stopped to congratulate her, two saying she had brought them to tears.

    Her father, Worcester Fire Lt. Paul Russell, shipped out for Iraq in April with a National Guard maintenance unit and expected to be home in mid-October; the tour has been extended to a full year.

    However, Lt. Russell got lucky in a leave lottery and will come home for two weeks of rest and recreation for the Christmas season.

    Actor Tim Robbins; Michael J. Fox, whose acting career has been interrupted by Parkinson's disease; Lenny Clarke, of ABC's sitcom "It's All Relative;" and filmmaker Bobby Farrelly were among the celebrities skating yesterday.

    Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., skated several shifts without a helmet and after whiffing on a couple of breakaways, helped feed Ken Hodge on a goal.

    After the game Mr. Kerry, one of 10 Democrats seeking the party's presidential nomination, reaffirmed his support for federal funding of firefighter training and equipment. "If we can open firehouses in Baghdad, we can keep them open in America."

    Current Bruins center Joe Thornton, called by former Bruins coach Don Cherry the world's greatest hockey player, joined with former players Ray Bourque, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, goalie Gerry Cheevers, John "Chief" Bucyk, Ken Hodge, Pat LaFontaine and Guy LaFluer.

    Mr. Orr and Mr. Cherry coached the MasterCard sponsored team. Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita and Mr. Clarke coached the EMC sponsored team that included Mr. Leary, who scored on a penalty shot on his second try after having his first disrupted with a flurry of sticks thrown at his skates from the opposition's bench.

    The hockey-loving celebrities expressed awe at playing with the game's legends.

    "I was on the ice today with Bobby Orr," said Mr. Robbins, who scored two goals, coming within one of an actual celebrity hat trick. "Think about that."

    The actor acknowledged that, as a New York Rangers fan, he had hated the Bruins but had to accept greatness in the enemy when he witnessed it, which he did as a youngster in Madison Square Garden.

    "I saw Bobby Orr kill a penalty skating all by himself without making a pass," Mr. Robbins said.

    It may well be the last time anyone sees Mr. Orr on skates. The man considered the greatest defenseman of all time, who led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup championships in the early 1970s, said he had not put on skates since the party four years ago that closed the Boston Garden, and not for 20 years before that.

    "I had a wonderful time today for a great cause," Mr. Orr said, "but I don't know if I'll ever skate again."

    http://www.learyfirefighters.org/

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