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2 NH fire departments come to aid of NYC firefighters

The efforts of two area fire departments to deliver supplies to hurricane-ravaged New York are picking up steam.

The community response to the request for supplies has been overwhelming, said Hanover firefighter Troy Leatherman, who organized the drive with Lebanon firefighter Eric James.

"There are a lot of people involved with this. It sort of got legs a few days ago," Leatherman said. "The past few days of it, it's been hard keeping up with it."

The firefighters are collecting items for Friends of Firefighters, Inc.

The New York City not-for-profit was created in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and is dedicated to addressing the physical, mental health and wellness needs of New York City's firefighters.

"We were trying to find a way to help out," James said. "This charity ended up being the one that we had some connections to. Essentially, Troy Leatherman was the one who started it, and I jumped in."

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, it devastated neighborhoods in which many of the city's firefighters live, as well as the organization's headquarters are located, James said.

Friends of Firefighters is asking for supplies to help in the demolition and reconstruction of affected homes and of the group's headquarters.

Supplies needed include Home Depot and Lowe's gift cards, unused cardboard boxes, clear heavy duty shopping bags, storage bins, one and two gallon Ziploc bags, fans, dehumidifiers, generators, sump pumps, electrical outlets, insulation and tools.

The firefighters sent out a request to the area late last week for the supplies, and as people have learned about the need more and more items come in, they said.

"I think there were a lot of people who were curious as to how they could help out," James said. "So when this popped up, it was an outlet for them."

On Sunday, Leatherman and James plan to drive to New York, deliver the supplies and stay a few days to help with demolition and reconstruction.

"I'm sure it will depend on what they need when we get down there," James said.

"We're looking forward to getting down there and pitching in and helping," Leatherman said.

Donations can be dropped off at either the Hanover or Lebanon fire departments until mid-day Sunday, James said.

The entire list of supplies needed is online at FriendsofFirefighters.org.

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