Gary Sinise, who’s well known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in the movie "Forrest Gump," made a large donation to help the brave first responders who defended our community against the Black Forest Fire.
Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey choked back tears while accepting the nearly $60,000 check that his department desperately needs.
“We’ve had many tragedies in this nation in the last year and with the Waldo Canyon Fire, the Black Forest Fire and the flooding, the focus really has been on the Pikes Peak region,” Harvey said.
The largely volunteer-based fire department lost many expensive pieces of equipment, including radios and fire hoses. Those will all be replaced.
“It is crucial to expanding our services,” said Harvey.
It’s all thanks to the large donation from the Gary Sinise Foundation. Organizers say the decision to pick the local fire department was a no-brainer.
“[We are] honored to present a $60,000 donation to the Black Forest Fire Department,” Sinise said through a video message to a crowd of supporters Tuesday morning.
The donation comes just a few days before National First Responders Appreciation Day on September 27.
“We do need to support these people that save our communities, and Black Forest Fire Department save a lot of homes out there,” said Veronica Destefano with Iris Fire Investigations and the Sinise Foundation.
The donation also gave these crews a new addition to their fleet: a standing track vehicle that will reduce manpower and speed up fire mitigation.
“We have our own miniature bulldozer so we can go in and create a very fast fire line,” said Harvey.
He said that with the new equipment, his team is ready to learn from the past and look forward to protecting Black Forest in the future.
Josh Cellars Wine also teamed up with the Sinise foundation to raise money for the Black Forest Fire Department.
For every bottle of wine sold, or ‘like’ to their Facebook page, the brand will donate one dollar to collect up to $50,000 for the cause.
The Josh Cellars winemaker has ties to the firefighting community himself: his father was a volunteer firefighter.