Roman Colon leads community effort in the Dominican Republic
An old fire truck sat behind a fire house in Hazel Park, Michigan. The department was ready to send it to the scrap yard due to the low resale value for fire trucks. Roman Colon, then pitching for the Tigers, was a friend of the fire chief. Roman stopped by the station one day and saw an opportunity for his hometown in the Dominican Republic, which had a great need for upgraded equipment.
Transporting a fire truck to the Dominican Republic would not be easy…or cheap! Thomas Rowinski, who was helping Colon with the project, found a program that would deliver humanitarian goods on space available military flights. Months of work and negotiation followed until the fire engine was delivered to Roman’s hometown of Monte Cristi.
Colon’s friends in Michigan saw the impact of their old fire truck and looked for additional ways to help. Their next goal was to send an ambulance to the Dominican. Roman, by this time a Royal, became friends with MAST ambulance paramedics at Kauffman Stadium. IAFF Local 42 member Lacy Rogers was able to help Roman find an out-of-service ambulance for his hometown. The firefighters in Michigan were able to send 50 sets of gear that included boots and helmets.
Monte Cristi’s previous equipment list looked like this: an old mini van for an ambulance, a pick up truck for a fire engine, two fire extinguishers and three protective coats that had to be shared. That list changed dramatically when the donated gear arrived in December, 2009!
We found out about this project from Rowinski, who sent along this slideshow of the group’s efforts in the Dominican Republic: