By 9:15 am on the second annual Islanders Give Back Day, freshman Von-Trai Porter was standing on the roof of an Oak Bluffs fire engine, giving it a final rinse after scrubbing it down with his classmates. For this year’s Give Back Day, students of various grades gave the engines and ambulances of Oak Bluffs a little TLC, and gave their first responders some time to take a breather.
Accompanied by School Resource Officer Jillian Sedlier, students from the high school were hard at work at what was dubbed a “first responders car wash.” Spraying down each truck as it was pulled out of the station, and scrubbing them down by hand, from tires to ladders, and everything in between — including each other — students took time off from the stress of Advanced Placement tests and finals.
First responders also enjoyed their break, gathering outside with the students — you would be hard pressed to find anyone without a smile, despite the gray day.
Lt. Trulayna Rose, who worked with Officer Sedlier to set up the chance for students to give back at the station, explained that the fire engines must be cleaned each Sunday, while the ambulances at Oak Bluffs Fire/EMS have to be cleaned nearly every other day due to 911 calls and the wear and tear of frequent trips up to Boston.
“Without the students coming, we probably would have been out here cleaning yesterday,” Rose said.
Officers deal with a similar scenario with their cruisers, aside from maybe those on the midnight shift, explained Sedlier — upkeep falls to first responders.
Malik Blake, a senior, and Vito Aiello, a junior, were both busy all morning scrubbing the engines, trucks, and cruisers of the Island’s first responders.
“They save our houses, the least we can do is give them a good wash,” said Malik, Vito adding, “It’s nice to be able to give back to the people who give back to us.”
Many hands, and the spirit of giving, made light work of the vehicles at the station and by 9:45, Officer Sedlier was already telling her colleagues to come along to the first responders wash, and cruisers were pulling in, waiting to sparkle.