“I was one of those kids”: Deputy fire chief looks back on 15 years of donating coats to kids in need

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To Deputy Fire Chief William Bailey, it’s more than just a tradition.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County school bus drivers took on an extra shift Monday morning to bring thousands of kids to Fire Station 11.

“We’re constantly involved in the community; not just by responding to people’s needs in the community on 911 calls, but in other avenues as well,” said Ron Kuley, president of the International Association of Firefighters’ Fairfax County chapter. One of those ways is through the fire department’s annual Coats for Kids drive, which turned 15 this year.

This year was a little different; however, with the help of Operation Warm and the IAFF, FCFD donated $50,000 worth of new coats, not old ones. They also handed out handmade hats and scarves and books.

While it’s an opportunity for kids to have fun, Kuley says it’s also an opportunity for fire staff to decompress. To Deputy Fire Chief William Bailey, it’s worth even more.

“I was one of those kids. I didn’t receive a brand new coat until I was in junior high school,” said Bailey. “So to be able to be a part of something that’s helping thousands of kids…I need to pay it forward.”

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