Today Congressman Pete Visclosky announced that the Gary Fire Department has been granted a federal award for fire department staffing under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program at the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Upon hearing the news, Mayor Rudy Clay commented, ““I am elated to hear today, that we will receive the $3 million grant we requested through FEMA’s SAFER program that will allow us to bring all 34 Gary firefighters lost through layoffs, back to work. I thank Congressman Pete Visclosky for his continued support and commend our own Gary Fire Department staff who worked so diligently on this win for the city of Gary.”
Gary Fire Chief Donnie Williamson said, “We are overjoyed, and we have been waiting for this. I am overjoyed. My thanks to the Congressman, and to Mr. Groszewski, and to the city for their support.” Mr. Robert Groszewski is Battalion Chief at the Gary Fire Department.
Raynard Robinson, President of Firefighters Local 359, stated, “On behalf of the Gary Fire Department and Local 2359, we thank everyone who assisted us, thank the Congressman and his speedy response to our request, and the SAFER grant program for the grant.”
Visclosky responded as well, “I am honored to be able to announce this grant that will support our first responders at the Gary Fire Department. I am proud to work with Mayor Clay and the city’s emergency response teams to improve the safety of local residents.”
Visclosky had submitted two letters in support of the Gary Fire Department’s application for funding.
The SAFER program aims to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to ensure that communities have adequate fire protection. It does so by awarding grants to fire departments in need of personnel to help them recruit, hire, and retain firefighters, and to help them re-hire those who have been laid off due to the economy.
This Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant is being made under the Fiscal Year 2010 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and totals $3,753,099.