Today marks the launch of the Last Call Foundation, a new organization that will support the Boston firefighting community through funding, education, and research. The Foundation was formed by Kathy Crosby-Bell in memory of her son, fallen firefighter Michael Kennedy, who, along with Lieutenant Edward Walsh, died battling a nine-alarm fire on March 26, 2014 in Boston’s Back Bay. Motivated by the tragedy, Crosby-Bell established the Foundation to help provide Boston’s firefighters with the tools they need to protect the public and themselves.
“Every time our firefighters answer a call, they are putting themselves in harm’s way to make our city safe,” said Crosby-Bell, president of the Last Call Foundation. “For their heroism, they deserve our support and every tool available to do their job as effectively and safely as possible. It is our hope that our efforts here will help prevent future tragedies such as the one on March 26th of this year.”
The Foundation, named for the last call that a firefighter responds to, is working on three main initiatives for 2014 that will supply Boston-area firefighters with much needed support and resources.
- Comfort and canteen truck — Staffed by the Boston Sparks Association, the comfort and canteen truck will provide first responders in Boston and surrounding neighborhoods with the resources they need to handle major emergencies, including water, food, and clean, dry clothing.
- Industrial washers and dryers — Even after the fire is put out, firefighters are still at risk due to the life-threatening carcinogens, chemicals, biological agents, and particulate matter that can contaminate their protective gear during a call. The Foundation will equip Boston’s firehouses with the equipment necessary to keep gear clean and firefighters healthy.
- Research on fire protection engineering — The Foundation is committed to supporting the scientific and academic communities working in the field of fire safety research. As part of this effort, the Foundation will provide funding for fire safety research at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
In addition to these initiatives, the Foundation will continue to support improvements and renovations to firehouses throughout the city, and will also work to raise awareness and educate the public about the unique challenges firefighters face today.
“As commissioner, the health and safety of the Boston firefighting community is my top priority,” said Joe Finn, commissioner of the Boston Fire Department. “We welcome the support of the Foundation and look forward to continuing to make the wellbeing of our firefighters a priority.”
The creation of the Foundation, whose board is made up of close friends, family and loved ones who played a significant role in Michael’s life, will be commemorated during an event at the Engine 33/Ladder 15 Firehouse at 941 Boylston Street on Friday, September 26, at 10 a.m. ET. More information on the Foundation, as well as the event, can be found at www.lastcallfoundation.org.
About the Last Call Foundation
The Last Call Foundation is a Boston-based, 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of providing funding, education, and research to advance the safety needs of the firefighting community, beginning with Boston. The Foundation was founded by Kathy Crosby-Bell in memory of her son, fallen firefighter Michael Kennedy, who along with Lieutenant Edward Walsh died battling the nine-alarm fire on March 26, 2014 in Boston’s Back Bay. The tragedy highlighted the unique challenges facing Boston’s firefighters. The Foundation is committed to identifying and addressing these challenges to enhance firefighters’ ability to safely and effectively fight fires and protect the community. For more information and to learn how you can get involved, please visit www.lastcallfoundation.org.