With the coronavirus pandemic spreading across Nassau County, a fire department roughly 75 miles north of the Inwood Fire Department pitched in to lend a helping hand to their downstate colleagues.
The Inwood volunteer firefighters received a care package through the East Fishkill Fire Department on March 27. Inwood forged a relationship with the Duchess County department since the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The care package included hand sanitizer and medical supplies for emergency medical service personnel such as masks, gloves and sanitizing products.
Inwood department chief Anthony Rivelli Jr. noted that the more than seven- year-old relationship is reciprocal. “During Hurricane Sandy, the East Fishkill Fire Department was stationed in Inwood,” Rivelli Jr. said. “From then, we’ve kept a relationship with them as we’ve gone upstate to help them when they had some serious storms. Other departments on Long Island have had relationships with upstate departments that faded. It’s nice to have kept this relationship with East Fishkill. We’ve gone upstate to … also attend departmental functions.”
East Fishkill put the care package together with the help of Cooper’s Daughter Spirits distillery in upstate Claverack. The distillery has transformed from making bourbon to producing hand sanitizer. East Fishkill Fire District Chief Steve Conti was appreciative of the bond between the fire departments.
“Finding appropriate hand sanitizer for our first responders has been a challenge recently, to say the least,” he said. “We just wanted to lend a helping hand to the Inwood department since we’ve built a great relationship with them over the years. There’s a brotherhood with them that will be there forever.”
Conti added that Cooper’s is roughly a 35-minute drive from the East Fishkill firehouse, and he was amazed that the distillery is contributing to first responders. “It’s overwhelming that companies who may be hurting financially such as Cooper’s are trying to do their best for first responders everywhere,” he said. “It’s an amazing act for anybody to do and it’s really nice to see that everybody is coming together to get a job done.”
Distillery owner, Sophie Cooper, said the bourbon maker’s efforts to help have had a profound impact on her company. “During such a dark and unusual time, being able to help people has given us hope and a sense of purpose,” she said. “It has been especially meaningful knowing that we are helping people who do so much for others on a daily basis. With the help of generous donations, we have been able to donate 1,500 bottles of hand sanitizer to 56 different essential services/businesses.”
Rivelli Jr. said with all the work the Inwood department continues to perform throughout the health crisis the efforts of East Fishkill and Cooper’s Distillery are greatly appreciated. “It was a nice show of solitary to our guys down here that are running around nonstop on EMS calls,” he said. “It gives them an added level of protection. Supplies are coming in but it's just been a little slower.”