HAVERHILL — Saying thank you to firefighters.
That sentiment has been echoed a lot lately, after two firefighters lost their lives in a Boston blaze and others did all they could to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The sentiment hit home at Consentino School yesterday, where about 150 fifth-graders showered visiting Haverhill firefighters with thank-you cards and gifts.
The cards were filled with personal sentiments. The students gave gifts to be delivered to the city’s four fire stations for all local firefighters to enjoy.
The event was Consentino’s first Firefighter Appreciation Day. Principal John Mele said it was the kind of giving-and-learning event he hopes to bring back next year.
Two students even got to try on some firefighting gear, including pants and jackets that were far too big, but they and their classmates got a kick out of it.
Leading up to yesterday’s program, students read stories about fires and the work firefighters do. They were aware of the recent tragedy in Boston in which two firefighters were killed battling a blaze.
Teacher Carol Buzzell reached out to fire officials and arranged for students to be visited by firefighters Raymond Robinson, a graduate of Consentino, and Peter Schena, whose youngest child attends Consentino. Fire Chief Richard Borden accompanied them.
Robinson and Schena demonstrated the use of some of their equipment — including air tanks, helmets, boots, pants and jackets — and how all the pieces function together to protect firefighters. They let two girls dress up in the gear, much to the delight of the other students. Robinson dragged one of the girls across the cafeteria stage, demonstrating how injured firefighters are rescued.
Mele said the kids asked a variety of questions. They wondered whether firefighters have to leave a fire scene if they crack their face masks. The answer was a resounding yes.