CLEVELAND — The Black Shield Police Association has teamed up with The Vanguards of Cleveland — an organization for African American firefighters — to ensure that hundreds of families receive presents for Christmas. The organization’s partnership has helped families with the holidays for the last three years.
“When I was a young man, I grew up on 105 and Superior. There’s a fire station up the street, but I never saw somebody that looked like me that was in the fire truck, so I didn’t think that was open to me until I became an adult," Captain Tyree Thompson, President of The Vanguards of Cleveland and a Cleveland firefighter. “When I was on the street one time, we went to a house, and the grandmother had a tree up and she had custody of the grandchildren and she didn’t have any gifts to give them. We made sure that our station, on my day off, I just took them over there.”
Families will be handed their gifts December 20. The Black Shield Police Association and The Vanguards of Cleveland adopted three schools to receive presents.
“The kids are not only getting a gift, but they’re getting community partnerships," Thompson said. "And then we’ll continue that partnership and follow up with them. Not just for that one day, but it could be for the rest of their lives.”
If you would like to help with donations, visit theblackshield.org.
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.