Foundation honors local firefighters for rescue efforts in Boland Hall fire
The Aspiring Kindness foundation, founded in 2010, made its way to The South Orange Fire Department on Sunday, March 25, to give back to the fire fighters who risked their lives in the Boland Hall fire in 2000, and who continually risk their lives every day.
The foundation raises money and donates to as many people as they can who are working to prevent fire and ensure safety.
The foundation recently donated $10,000 to the New York Presbyterian Burn Unit and donated a portable projector, laptop and projection screen to The South Orange Fire Department on Sunday, according to one of the founders, Jason Tarantino.
“We wanted to give all the equipment the department needs to go out and teach fire prevention classes,” Tarantino said. “We bought the equipment so they can go out and do the classes tomorrow if they want.”
Tarantino said the charity was created to remember one of his high school friends, Aaron Karol, who lost his life in the Boland fire.
Candace Karol, the mother of Aaron Karol, said it was a wonderful surprise when Tarantino came to her and told her about the foundation.
“What the boys have done is wonderful,” Candice Karol said.
Karol also added that the name “Aspiring Kindness” was so named because Aaron’s nickname was “AK.”
The South Orange Fire Chief, Jeff Markey, said he is very grateful for the donations received from the Aspiring Kindness foundation, especially since they are made in honor of the victims of the Boland fire.
“When you have a tragedy like this, you are trying to make it better,” Markey said. “And we commit ourselves to make sure this never happens again.”
Markey said the department dedicates itself to the motto “education, enforcement and engineering,” which are the main components of the prevention of fire.
“When we come in people automatically think it’s going to be boring and a lot of people end up thanking us as we leave,” Markey said.
Markey said when a life is lost, the department takes it as a personal responsibility.
“‘We lost them’ is a common statement from fire fighters,” Markey said.
Tarantino said he is happy to be able to give back and reach out to any organizations that work towards the prevention of fires.
“This is really a small token for what the department has done,” Tarantino said.
Other organizations also came out on Sunday to offer donations to the Aspiring Kindness foundation, such as the South Orange Lion’s Club.
“Any support anyone can give, we will not forget,” Markey said.
Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org.