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Schriever FD gives back to Harvey survivors

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Stephen Hardman, Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department firefighter, left, and Matthew Clark, Schriever AFB FD lead firefighter, right, smile in front of the Schriever Christmas tree at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Dec. 4, 2017. Hardman and Clark, along with other members of the fire department, provided a Thanksgiving meal and household supplies to a family affected by Hurricane Harvey and plan to help them at Christmas. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

‘Tis the season for giving.

The Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department recently provided a family affected by Hurricane Harvey with household items, a Thanksgiving meal and days of emotional support.

Stephen Hardman, Schriever FD firefighter, said the firefighters wanted to try and find somebody to adopt for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The process started in early November, and with help from a close family friend of Hardman and teacher, the two were able to connect with a family of five who recently moved to Colorado Springs from Houston due to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.

With two weeks until Thanksgiving, the fire department quickly gathered and donated various household items like dishes, a slow cooker, silverware and clothes for the family’s children.

“The father worked on an oil rig, and that’s a very specific job to the Houston area,” said Matthew Clark, Schriever AFB FD lead firefighter. “We wanted to be there to help them get on their feet.”

Hardman and Clark presented the items to the family Nov. 22.

“The family was not expecting it,” Hardman and Clark added. “They were very, very thankful.”

In addition, the fire department provided a Thanksgiving meal courtesy of Bourbon Brothers with the funds raised throughout the year, like the fire department’s annual T-shirt sale.

“We just wanted to give them the opportunity to have a decent Thanksgiving meal and not have to worry about spending the money or prepare anything,” Hardman said. “It was an elaborate meal, and I was very impressed.”

The family wrote thank you cards for the firefighters to show their appreciation.

Hardman said despite the mother not being there to accept the gifts, she was blown away Schriever members’ support.

“We heard she was in tears because of the overall support we gave her and her family,” Hardman said. “It was very touching to hear.”

Clark explained firefighters do not usually witness the positive impacts of what they do as a team.

“As a firefighter, you see people on their worst days, but you never get to see the good things,” he said. “From this aspect, we got to see the smiles on their faces.”

Hardman and Clark are not stopping at Thanksgiving.

“They lost everything, moved out here and didn’t have any jobs,” Hardman said. ”We thought, ‘let’s see if we can come up with something to help them and the kids out for Christmas.’”

The department has begun collecting Christmas gifts, like toy guns for their first grade son, and dolls for their kindergarten daughter.

“It’s something easy for us to do so the parents don’t have to worry so much and can make sure their kids have a decent Christmas,” Hardman said.

Hardman and Clark plan to stay in contact with the family after the holidays.

“We’ve established a connection with them, and they have been very thankful,” Hardman said.

The two added this experience has helped them appreciate the work they do on and off scene.

“It’s nice to see this aspect, because most of the time, we go to a car accident or a house fire, and we just help them in that moment,” Hardman said. “We don’t get to help them rebuild or anything, so it’s nice to actually see their reactions.”

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