Come out and see the truck at the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, Saturday May 19th noon til 6pm. If you would like to donate funds for the truck purchase and maintenance, there is more information at the bottom of this post and a link to our sponsor, Fractured Atlas.
New Challenges for East Kensington
Posted by Jeff Carpineta, President East Kensington Neighbor’s Association and Jesse J. Gardner, Unsung Heroes Gallery
On April 9th, Firefighter Dan Sweeney and Lieutenant Robert Neary, both of Ladder 10, lost their lives in a fire disaster that began with a lack of care.
Firefighters Francis Cheny and Patrick Nally were seriously injured. A neighborhood landmark, the Thomas Buck Hosiery Factory complex, was destroyed.
We are now called to do all that we can to shore up the foundation of care and respect in East Kensington: To make it abundantly clear that our desire for a safe and living neighborhood will prevail over the forces of abuse, neglect, and destruction.
Firefighters and the awe-inspiring tools of their trade are what stand at the battle line between care and destruction. They have a powerful spiritual presence that touches the hearts of us all.
Firefighters are everyone’s hero; they fight to protect life and property no matter how grand or humble; they do this for everyone, everywhere, at any hour. And we, neighbors of East Kensington, are committed to the same call against destruction and the same belief in a secure and vital future.
We have an opportunity, through our friendship with Firefighters John Morris of Avondale Fire & Rescue Company 23 and Jim Groome of Kennet No. 1 Fire Company, to purchase a retired Fire Engine at a deeply discounted price. John and Jim come from multi generational firefighter families, and like first responders everywhere, have followed the Kensington fire disaster closely since the early morning hours of April 9th. They understand and support our vision to use this rig as a powerful tool of community inspiration.
HOW THE TRUCK WILL SERVE
We are called to this proud red truck, and it is called to us…. to power events, to be a first aid station at gatherings, promote safety, lead parades and celebrations, inspire children and touch the kid-heart of all people in the way that these gorgeous engines do, and have done now for over a century. This Fire Engine will be a powerful point of light in a difficult time, and a message will be delivered, quite literally from its horns and decks, that care will prevail. It will be owned and maintained by Kensington’s own Unsung Heroes Gallery, and loaned to the East Kensington Neighbors Association on an as-needed basis.
This truck will be a mobile testament to our First Responders, with an artist’s tribute to FF Sweeny and Lt. Neary painted on the side, showing our gratitude to them and the Philadelphia Fire Department. Showing in word and deed that we will NEVER forget 4-9-12, that this community will always honor and remember the sacrifice they made defending us.
At a recent vigil for the lost, standing in front of the charred ruins of the factory, we made a pledge to local firefighters and neighbors to push back against the forces of destruction with a sturdy commitment to life and to each other. We made a promise to do our utmost to prevent further losses, to care for our built environment, and to forever honor our fallen heroes.
This Fire Truck is a symbol of our commitment to the protection of life and property in our neighborhood, and will be cherished by all in years to come.
We are calling on you to help give this Fire Engine new life in East Kensington.
Our Goal is to raise $6,500 to cover purchase, registration, insurance, repairs, and maintenance/storage for 1 year. Pledges of $250-$500 are suggested to help us reach our goal in the next 10 days, but all giving is appreciated.
All donors will be acknowledged on the Unsung Heroes Gallery facebook website at UnsungHeroesGallery and at a celebratory event. Donors of $250 or more will have their names engraved on a plaque that will be mounted on the truck.
Unsung Heroes Gallery is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organisation. Contributions for the purposes of the Fire Truck Purchase must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Please click on the Fractured Atlas link shown here, which will take you to the Fractured Atlas website where you can make a donation by major credit card.
You may also pay by check, made payable to Fractured Atlas with “in support of Fire Truck” written in the memo line. Please mail to: Unsung Heroes Gallery, 2024 East Arizona Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125.
Thank you for your generous support!
The Gallery is open by appointment. Please call 267-702-6820 and we will do our utmost to accommodate your schedule.
If you would like to read more about the history of the Unsung Heroes Portrait Series, visit jessejgardner.com
To learn more about the East Kensington Neighbors Association,visit Ekna.org