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Published: Monday, 2/10/2014

'Hat's Off to our Firefighters' Day shows gratitude at Timberstone

Timberstone student Madelyn McArthur, 11, wears a colorful hat on Hats off to Our Firefighters day. Timberstone student Madelyn McArthur, 11, wears a colorful hat on Hats off to Our Firefighters day.

As a symbol of support for the Sylvania Township Firefighters and respect for the two Toledo firemen who recently died in the line of duty, Timberstone Junior High School students wore hats to school.

The school wanted to show its appreciation because what firefighters do often goes unnoticed, said Kelly Heil and Leslie O'Brien, the Sylvania school's Youth to Youth advisers. 

The idea for the school-based organization to host "Hat’s Off to Our Firefighters" was a way to honor Sylvania’s local firefighters after two Toledo firemen, Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, died while battling a building fire last month. The organization is community-minded. In the past, it has raised donations for food baskets given to local families during the holidays. 

“This will also heighten awareness of what they do, and having them come in will make an impact,” Mrs. O’Brien said about the planned ceremony for the firefighters.

Tuesday at 3 p.m. the student organization will present about $100 to the Sylvania Township Fire Department. The money was raised through those wearing hats from $1 donated in a fire boot placed at school Monday.

Madelyn McArthur,11, who wore a colorful bird hat, will be one of the students to present the donation to Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski and firefighter Jim Wolf.

Also presenting will be Alexa Kessler, 11, who was sporting a pink camouflage hat, a present from her grandfather. As part of the donation ceremony, the students wrote a speech for the fire department.

“It’s important. They have a very important job,” Madelyn said during her study hall class. Nearby sat sixth grader Nicole Arvanitis, also a member of Youth to Youth. She said the fund-raiser was a good idea considering the firefighters help, “and it’s nice to help back.”

Mrs. O’Brien and Ms. Heil said that the boot was filled with money Monday, as even students who didn’t wear hats turned in donations.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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