FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As fire departments across the state mourn the loss of the New Carlisle firefighter killed Tuesday night, hundreds will gather Friday to raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Congress created the foundation in 1992, but it gets no federal funding. Everything comes from donations.
When a firefighter dies, the organization provides a place for survivors to turn. There’s grief support for departments and families and scholarships are available for children and spouses for education and job training.
It also helps firefighters in crisis.
Ed Lytal is the EMS Chief for New Haven Adams Township Fire and EMS department. He found himself in that position this past Memorial Day weekend.
His daughter, Erin, 23, was hit head-on by a drunk driver in Columbus, Ohio. She was in very critical condition
As Lytal rushed to be with his daughter, an ambassador for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was already at work.
When he landed in Ohio, transportation was waiting.
“It was a relief to have that there. I had someone to fall back on,” Lytal said. “I’m not that guy that needs help. I’m the guy giving help, so it’s kind of uncomfortable a little bit.”
His food, hotel, even laundry were all taken care of by the Columbus Fire Department and the Ohio Local Assistance team.
Lytal organizes the Fort Wayne golf outing at Autumn Ridge Golf Club every year, but this year will have extra meaning.
“Some of the [people who helped me] will be there and it gives me a chance to say thank you on a larger scale,” he said.
Around 144 people will golf on Friday. To date, the outing has raised more than $60,000 for the NFFF. To learn more or make a donation to the NFFF, click here.