Morgantown firefighters release ‘Operation Warm’ numbers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Thanks to the men and women of Morgantown Firefighters Local 31 and financial support from TeleTech more than 350 Monongalia County kindergarten and first grade students will receive new winter coats.

“All the time that we spend dealing with cold weather emergencies is a reactive response,” said Derek Porter, the Operation Warm coordinator for the Morgantown Firefighters IAFF Local 313. “This is one way to interact with the community and keep kids safe in the winter months.”

Porter says they work with teachers at nine Mon County elementary schools to find the kids in need.

“This year we did right around 360 kids,” Said Porter,”That’s up 40 from what we did last year.”

Porter says the community understands that kids spend a large amount of time outside waiting on the bus, walking to school or outside for other activities. But, he says this allows the kids to put a face with the first responder behind the mask.

“We always tell them not to be afraid of us,” Said Porter,”It puts a face with the guy behind the mask, we don’t have all the bulky clothes on, we normally have street clothes on.”

Morgantown-based TeleTech has donated $8,000 to Operation Warm over the last two years.