When Fighting Fires Isn’t Enough

Submitted by: Dave Xander

Jeff Lorson is the hero in my story. Jeff is a Lt. with the Orrville, Ohio Fire Department and has been a firefighter for over 35 years. I’m proud to say that I worked with Jeff in the late ’70s and early 80’s, but it is what he has accomplished since then that puts him in a class by himself. As firefighters, we often see people in need and wish there was more we could do to help. Jeff Lorson saw a need and took action. Twenty years ago, Jeff organized the first Orrville Fire Department food drive so that no family in the community would be without a special holiday meal. The effort has grown over the years and now serves over 200 families. Jeff’s enthusiasm is contagious and spills over to the community where people donate to fill the fireboots in local businesses and schools, or volunteer to help the firefighters deliver all of the food baskets. Recently, the Orrville Fire Department partnered with the Salvation Army so that the program could reach even more people. The Salvation Army is responsible for identify families in need and the Orrville Fire Department makes sure the need is filled.

Orrville is a “paid on call” department, so firefighters have regular jobs to support their families. In Jeff’s case, he also operates an auto detailing business on the side in addition to his full time job. Still, Jeff finds time to meet with the leaders of local businesses to solicit their support in the annual food drive. Jeff’s work was recognized in 2008 when he was named Orrville’s “Citizen of the Year.”

Firefighters like Jeff Lorson recognize that fighting fires is not enough. Jeff saw a need and rallied his fellow firefighters to support the cause. Jeff is the type of firefighter you want by your side battling a fire, but his passion is also a key to battling hunger in the community.

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