Firefighters sell shirts for wounded vet

DeKALB – Firefighters with DeKalb’s firefighters union are selling T-shirts to raise money for a very patriotic cause: they want to purchase a new vehicle for a severely wounded veteran.

“Our number one goal is to give the keys (to the vehicle) to a wounded veteran at a later date,” said Noah Millard, coordinator for the T-shirt sales.

Millard is working with Luke Howieson, president of DeKalb Firefighters Local 1236, as well as other firefighters from DeKalb and Sycamore to sell 4,000 T-shirts at $15 each to raise $30,000 to purchase a new vehicle for a severely wounded veteran from DeKalb County or a nearby county. Each shirt sold raises $7.50 for the fund.

The firefighters are working with local veterans groups and organizations to identify potential recipients for the vehicle. The selected veteran will get to choose his or her American-made vehicle, delivered by a local dealership.

The Chicago Firefighters Union came up with the idea in 2009, Howieson said. Since then, Associated Firefighters of Illinois (AFFI) has championed the cause and raised enough money through its Warrior Program to purchase vehicles for three severely wounded Illinois veterans, but Millard and Howieson want to raise local funds to benefit a local veteran. The red custom-designed shirts feature Northern Illinois University’s Huskie logo on the left sleeve.

Firefighters sold shirts at a booth at Corn Fest and will also sell T-shirts during Sycamore’s Pumpkin Festival in October. They hope to be able to present the keys to the vehicle to a veteran during a Veterans Day ceremony at the NIU home football game on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

“A lot of people forget that there’s still a war going on, and that there are still guys coming home with injuries,” Howieson said.

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