Shortly after the September 11th. attacks a young Wayne County girl, Brittanee Lee, daughter of Brenda and Cliff Lee of Waymart decided that she had to do something for the children of all the brave Firefighters who gave their lives trying to help others. As a youngster, she knew that teddy bears give kids great comfort. So she set about gathering the furry bears for those children who had suffered the great loss of a parent that day.
Finally her home was overflowing with more than 500 bears, each waiting for their new home with a child in New York, but how to make the connection and get them there.
Protection Engine Company, No. 3 as a representative of the Honesdale Fire Department picked up the challenge offering to help in any way possible with her project. Calling on contacts in NYC, a connection was made with FDNY and a plan to deliver the bears to FDNY Logistics at Fort Totten, NY was set in motion.
Early in the morning on a snowy March 20, 2002 a caravan headed by the rig from Engine Co. 3, HFD started their journey to NY.
The bears arrival at Fort Totten was greeted by Chief Lawrence Connors Commander Fort Totten Operations and his staff who assisted in off loading the precious cargo. That task complete he spent some time with Brittanee and her family, discussing her project and what impact her project would have on the families of FDNY families. (Photo left to right: Brenda Lee (mother), Grandmother, FDNY Firefighter, Brittanee Lee, Chief Connors, and Cliff Lee (Father)
Brittanee shown explaining her project and why she believed she had to do something to help to help to Chief Connors. She also explained to him that many of the bears had letters attached from those who had donated them, intended to show personal support to those who were to receive them.
Following the bear presentation, Chris Seitz of HFD exchanged patches with the chief. The FDNY patch, along with others from NYC emergency services will be used in a special memorial tribute to be displayed in the HFD Fire museum.
Presentations complete, Engine 3 with some of the Honesdale firefighters returned to Honesdale. But the day was far from over for Brittanee, her family and four members of the Honesdale Fire Department.
Chief Connors took the small group to the site of the tragedy, "Ground Zero" for a personal tour of the reason Brittanee took on this special project. Photos of that tour will be added to this page in the near future. The tour complete they returned to Fort Totten still as special guests of FDNY.