by Lisa Tome
It wasn't difficult for Stephen Piatelli to teach his son about the spirit of Christmas giving.
Piatelli, Chief of the North East Fire Company, had only to take his son Vinnie, age seven, along on a shopping trip.
For the second year, North East Fire Company adopted a family for Christmas. Piatelli explained that the idea of doing just a little more service for the holidays was brought to the company last year. North East Fire Company members Gary Tagmyer and Mike Miller came up with the idea of helping a family in need. Last year, the company Chaplain, Phil Meekins, suggested a family that needed a hand. This year, the company "adopted" one of their own.
A man and woman, their two children, and the grandmother of the children were adopted by the fire company. The family has close ties to Cecil County's emergency services.
"The (fire company) board made the approval. You help everybody all year. For Christmas, we are taking care of one of our own. This is a good bonding experience," said Piatelli, who took Vinnie along to shop for the family and allowed his son to choose gifts for the children.
"This makes me proud. We are using this as a lesson for my son. He is learning respect and to help people who need help. At the store, my son said that we adopted a family. That makes you feel good to hear that," said Piatelli.
Most of the members of the fire company helped with the adoption in some way. Some bought gifts. Others wrapped, organized, and more. On Sunday night, the company, and members of Chesapeake City Fire Company delivered the gifts to the family in need. Santa also went along.
The chief said that it was all possible due to partnership. Members donated as did North East Police Department. Chesapeake Service Center, Planet Fitness, and Crouch Funeral Home were also partners in the giving effort.
"Our family thanks all of you so much for thinking of us during this holiday season. We are so very blessed with all of you in our lives. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is a blessing for our family this year," wrote one of the recipient family members in a letter to the fire company.
"We ask for donations all year long. Once a year, it's nice to give back and help out," added Piatelli.