Wilmington firefighters get big thanks from cross country team

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- A tragedy three years ago gave rise to a special tradition in Wilmington, Delaware.

About 50 members of St. Ann's track and field cross country team made their way to Wilmington Fire Station # 5.

Some of them pulled wagons loaded with stuff in the two-and-a-half block journey on what has become an annual tradition to say 'Thank You' to firefighters.

"They look forward to it every year and they're very appreciative of what our Wilmington Firefighters do," said track coach Brian Klous.

"Wow, yay, Wow!" yelled a firefighter.

The kids cheered.

The tradition began a few years ago on the heels of a horrific tragedy. The loss of three Wilmington firefighters back on September 24, 2016 in a devastating house fire. One of those firefighters, 51-year-old Christopher Leach, was the father of three students at St. Ann's Middle School, two of them were on the track and cross country team.

Firefighters in Delaware spent Tuesday morning honoring three of their colleagues who died in a fire three years ago.

"And he was a big supporter of ours and all these kids, to us, its very important to keep his memory alive and also the other two firefighters who died, Jerry and Ardy, who died in the fire as well," said Coach Klous.

But you know what? These kids didn't come empty-handed. They brought plenty of food and drink for the firefighters to say, "Thank you guys for all that you do for us."
One by one, the young track team members carried boxes of various treats and drinks that could last four shifts of firefighters at least a couple weeks.

"It really warms our hearts to see they continue to support us after all these years, that they haven't forgotten," said fire captain Kevin Turner.

"I really think it's nice that everybody brought treats and stuff for the firefighters cause they have to pay out of pocket and stuff for the food," said 12-year-old track team member Lulu Cochran.

And maybe, just maybe we may have some future firefighters among these young students.

"I saw a lot of cool stuff," said 10-year-old Julissa Brown.

"It was really fun and I enjoyed coming here," said 10-year-old Camille Moritz.
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