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Passing the Fez -- Araba Shriners raise $3,500 for Cincinnati Firemen memorial fund

April 30, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer


For the last several seasons, the well-known Cincinnati Firemen group has rocked spring break at the Lani Kai, attracting thousands of visitors to the area while enjoying fun in the sun and for a good cause. Every year, the firemen pass the boot to collect donations for a local non-profit organization. For the last few spring breaks, it's been the Araba Shriners, a local non-profit group that boasts itself as a beacon of hope for local children, covering any medical expenses and travel costs to and from its Shrine hospitals.

Article Photos

The Araba Shriners passed the fez during their recent meeting, collecting funds for the Gordon family. Photo courtesy MIKE MEEHAN.

In a very sad twist of fate, it was the local Araba Shriners who have recently offered a lending hand to the group of firemen. Sadly, the Cincinnati Fire Dept. lost a 30-year veteran to the flames late last month during a four-alarm fire, Daryl Gordon. The local shriners took up a collection and raised $3,500 for Daryl's family.

"Daryl Gordon was a 30-year veteran of the Cincinnati Fire Dept. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters both in college. He was a bomb tech and promoted driver," said Angelo Scarlato, Cincinnati Fire Dept. veteran and co-organizer of the spring break trips every year. "The last time I spoke with Daryl, he stated he was planning to retire in 2015. He was a good fireman who died searching for victims in an apartment building's four-alarm fire (there were roughly 24 companies with 80+ firefighters on the scene)."

"Shortly after hearing of the tragic news, during our meeting that night, we voted and collected, sending $3,500 back up to the firemen for their memorial for his wife and children," said Mike Meehan, public relations chairman and photographer for the Araba Shriners. "Each year, the Cincinnati Firemen have given us more than $11,000 toward our transportation fund. They've been wonderful and made it possible for us to purchase a new van used to transport local children to and from our Shriners hospitals. When we heard this happened, we felt we needed to return the generosity they passed the boot for us, so we passed the fez for them."

Mike explained someone made the motion at the meeting and it was instantly agreed upon, $2,500. When they counted the funds collected by passing the fez that evening, $775, the Jeepsters, a sub-group of the organization, immediately added another $225 to round it up to $1,000 to add to the donation.

"While I was saddened by the loss of a co-worker and friend, I was impressed and humbled by the thoughts and generosity of the Araba Shriners thinking of us, our loss, and Daryl's family 1,000 miles away," Angelo explained.

Although an online fund-raising page has not been orchestrated, those who wish to make a donation to Daryl's family may do so anytime by sending a check or money order to: Local 48, 1011 W. 8th St., Cincinnati, OH 45203, ATTN: FF Gordon Memorial Fund.



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