On behalf of the Southbridge Fire Department, IAFF Local 2194, and the citizens of Southbridge, I would like to express our profound gratitude for the grant the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation and Leary Firefighters Foundation provided to us. With the generous grant amount of $11,990 we will be able to purchase twenty-two personal safety systems (PSS). This will outfit more than half the members of the department and lessen the financial impact to the community. This will allow the Town of Southbridge to purchase the remaining eighteen personal safety systems, assuring all career and call firefighters, are provided with their own PSS. Once the PSS are purchased, we will be sending three firefighters to obtain the proper training through the manufacture. With one member already trained, this will allow four members of the organization to be trained on the safety system. We will then conduct our own inhouse training and assure all members are properly trained on the use and deployment of the safety systems. We understand the importance of training, specifically on the PSS and will continue to conduct yearly training. Thank you for your generosity and consideration to the Southbridge Fire Department and its citizens. The impact both foundations are making to the firefighting community is incredible. Thank your again to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation and Leary Firefighters Foundation. 

- Ryan Morton President Local 2194 Firefighter/Paramedic Southbridge Fire Department, Massachusetts

It is with sincere gratitude and appreciation, on behalf of the Melrose Fire Department, that we thank the Lt. Joey DiBernardo Memorial Foundation and the Leary Firefighter Foundation for the award of the grant to our department. With this grant the department is able to purchase and outfit all of our members with personal safety systems and we are able to better protect the members of our department. Our department will now have the equipment needed in the event we are in a bailout situation, which would not have been possible without this grant. We thank you again for this generous award and assisting in keeping firefighters safe.

-Firefighter/Paramedic Alessandro Colarusso, City of Melrose Fire Department

On behalf of the Officers and Firefighters of the Plains Twp. Fire Dept., I wish to thank you for selecting us to receive a grant to fully fund the purchase of Personal Escape Systems for our members. The steady increase of requests for mutual and automatic aid from our department has significantly increased our call volume and our potential to be put in harm’s way. As a municipal funded fire department, 95% of our budget goes towards salaries and healthcare. This leaves us little room to meet the needs of today’s fire service with our equipment budget. Thanks to your generosity, we will now be able to equip our personnel with invaluable life safety equipment. Foundations like yours help fire departments with limited funding nationwide attain life-saving equipment, training, etc. Every grant that is awarded carries on the love and passion that Lt. DiBernardo had for the fire service. The number of lives touched thanks to the generosity of this foundation is unimaginable. If the need were to arise for these escape systems to be utilized, our personnel can now be at ease knowing they have life-saving equipment to assist them out of a situation that requires self-rescue; this is all thanks to Lt. DiBernardo’s Memorial Foundation. The Plains Twp. Fire Dept. cannot thank you enough for your support with this project.

- Captain Jarrod Million / Plains Township Fire Department / Plains, Pennsylvania

On behalf of the City of Russell Fire Department, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Lt. Joseph P DiBernadro foundation. The foundation awarded our department a grant for bail-out devices in 2022. This grant will put a personal safety system device in every one of our firefighters hands. Without this donation, our department would not be able to afford this life saving technology for our firefighters. As a volunteer department, we take every measure we can in mitigating risks before they happen. These new pieces of equipment will help keep our firefighters safe during calls where in the past, they may have become seriously injured or perished. On behalf of all our firefighters, thank you to the members of the foundation for supporting our fire department with this state of the art equipment and training to help keep our firefighters safe.

- Fire Chief Dylan Riedel,  Russell City Fire Department / Russell, Kansas 

On behalf of the officers and members of the Moon Township Volunteer Fire Company, I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the Lt. Joseph P. DiBenardo Foundation for awarding us a grant to outfit twenty of our volunteer firefighters with life safety escape rope systems. This has been a goal of our fire company for many years, and now with assistance from the Joey D Foundation, we are finally able to equip our brave men and women with this much needed equipment. With dozens of mid-rise and high-rise buildings in our first due coverage area, these escape systems will be an essential asset for
our interior firefighters. Again, thank you for this generous grant and your commitment to America’s fire service.

- John Scott - Fire Chief / Moon Township Volunteer Fire Company, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

We cannot thank you enough to make our gratitude truly known; this grant has been a blessing to our Department & also our mutual aid Departments that we respond with for rope rescue dispatches. Your financial assistance has given us the ability to not only serve our community more efficiently, but also better protect our membership from harm, which speaks volumes to a small, non-profit, rural volunteer fire department from Venango County, PA. The terrain surrounding our primary service area is filled with steep, rocky inclines that often slope down to narrow tributaries of the Allegheny River, making us a popular location for outdoor adventure seekers. In the past few years, we have witnessed a spike in recreational-based emergencies that require the use of high-angle rigging or low-angle directional changes to rescue the patient before advanced aid can be administered. Our former inventory of equipment did not have the capacity to perform these rescues, but thanks to the grant provided by the LT. JOSEPH P. DiBERNARDO MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, we are now much more confident in our inventory & our level of preparedness. Going forward, we plan to use our new rope rescue items to promote the shared Mission & Vision of the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation & Seneca Volunteer Fire Department: to promote safety training and personal life safety among firefighters in our area, because we agree: firefighters can’t save lives if they can’t save themselves.

- Seneca Fire Department / Seneca, Pennsylvania

On behalf of the officers and members of the Sussex FD, I would like to deeply thank you for your donation to purchase personal safety systems for our members. This will greatly help our firefighting capabilities as we are a small rural volunteer fire dept. that also services a small town with buildings that are known as taxpayers.

- Chief Grant Rome Sussex Fire Department / Sussex, New Jersey

We, the members of Union Beach Fire Company #1 located in Union Beach NJ can’t thank you & your team enough for everything you do. You have helped so many people in need and truly have made a tremendous impact on the fire service. Your gratitude and effort to protect those who serve their communities should never go unnoticed or be forgotten, just like the brave men & woman who have made the ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten. It is those who have paved the way for us to learn and to better ourselves each day.
We would like to take this time to personally thank you for awarding us the Lieutenant Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation grant as well as the opportunity to better our members, our department and send them home safely to their loved ones. Having the equipment to do the job is half the battle and thanks to your generosity and hard work we can now outfit several of our members with bailout equipment.

- Union Beach Fire Company#1 / Union Beach, New Jersey

The Lanesborough Volunteer Fire Department ("LVFD") wishes to thank the DiBernardo Memorial Foundation and the Leary Firefighters Foundation for the $8,000 grant to be used to purchase bailout kits for the LVFD. As with many rural departments, the LVFD is not immune to increasing prices due to inflation and global economic challenges. The need to balance firefighter safety and municipal budget constraints has proved a challenge. With this generous grant, the LVFD will be able to ensure the continued safety of our firefighters. For this, we are deeply grateful. We appreciate the opportunity to work with both organizations.

- Kevin Towle, FF/EMT Lanesborough Volunteer Fire Department / Lanesborough, Massachussetts

The Clinton Fire Department, in Clinton SC, would like to sincerely thank the Joseph P DiBernardo Memorial Foundation for awarding our department with a grant to purchase personal safety kits. Were it not for the generosity of your foundation, we would not have been able to purchase these kits for our firefighters. With the money awarded through your grant, we were able to purchase 16 kits for the department. This allows for each full-time CFD member to be equipped with a personal safety system. Training has begun on the bailout kits and we are thankful to have this additional resource to utilize should the situation call for it.

- Fire Chief Jeremy Marshall, Clinton Fire Department / Clinton, South Carolina

The Riverside Fire Department would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation. Our department was awarded the grant in the fall of 2018. On November 26, 2018, we received a check from the Foundation in the amount of $18,435. The grant will be used to outfit 24 firefighters with bail out systems which will be integrated into their turnout gear. The graciousness of your investment will allow our department to outfit all of our members with this system. This is a huge step forward in the name of safety and we cannot express our
thanks enough.

The grant will also allow 8 members of our department to attend training on the system. These eight personnel will be trained at the trainer level and again will allow all of our members to be trained to use the system. I have personally sat through presentations on the incident in which Joseph DiBernardo made the ultimate sacrifice. The work of your foundation truly honors his memory.

― Assistant Chief David J. Snarr, Riverside Fire Department

On behalf of the Wildwood City Fire Department I would like to extend our department’s most heartfelt thank you to you and your organization for the grant awarded to our department in the amount of $13,675. Wildwood is a small city with big city issues including multi-story multiple dwellings, mid-rises, high-rises and many other unique features in associated with our resort ocean side city and its world famous boardwalk.

Our city continues to suffer from high unemployment rates and low household income resulting in Wildwood being the 29th most distress city out of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. While we certainly are not proud of this, it underscores and highlights what your foundation is able to provide to departments such as ours.

Without this grant we certainly would not have been able to outfit our entire department along with being able to provide the training that comes with it. Because of this grant we knowingly are able to better protect our city’s firefighters and are better equipped to provide the very best life safety and fire protection to our residents and many summertime visitors.

Once again, from a very grateful department, we appreciate and applaud your ambition, initiatives and grants helping fire services thought out the country.

― Chief Daniel F Speigel, Wildwood City Fire Department

Thanks to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, our firefighters now have personal safety systems that afford them that extra safety measure. Without the Foundation’s generous donation our small department would not have been able to afford this state-of-the-art bail-out equipment. The fires and related hazards our crews face are no less dangerous than any organization across the country faces of which have much greater funds to purchase equipment. Mr. DiBernardo and the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation saw our need and did not hesitate to meet it! Thanks to this foundation our firefighters now have the best equipment as well as the best training on the necessary firefighter survival and bail-out techniques necessary to save their lives in the event the unthinkable occurs!

― Fire Chief Tommy J. Sizemore, City of Barling Fire Department

“The Pennsburg Fire Company #1 would like to thank the Lt. Joey DiBernardo Memorial Foundation for awarding us with PSS systems for our firefighters. We received the grant and purchased our PSS systems that we have started training on. Due to this Foundation they have given our firefighters the mindset that they can get out of a bad situation at any given time.”

― Pennsburg Fire Company #1

Your Foundation has been able to help our department become better prepared for when the inevitable time occurs that a bailout becomes necessary by providing $6,808 to purchase equipment and training. The grant allowed us to purchase 16 bailout systems and get up to 15 firefighters trained in bailouts and use of the new systems. We were also able to get 8 Firefighters trained as trainers for ongoing training. The invaluable service you provide is one that will not be taken lightly nor be forgotten. The training we receive will be carried on for years as we will get some of the newest members trained as trainers in order to carry on the mentorship for the next 20-30 years.

― Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Maglott, Bucyrus Fire Department

“Never let it be said that we small departments are not mired in the same red tape as the rest of the world. I received the attached photo of our newest members in the bailout harnesses made possible by a generous grant from the DiBernardo Foundation.”

―  Ex Chief Charles Puglisi, Bellerose Fire Department

"The Clinton Fire Department would like to thank the Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation for the selecting our fire department as a grant recipient to purchase the remainder personal safety systems for our firefighters. Now all of our firefighters will be covered if an emergency situation occurs where the personal safety system may be the determining factor between life and death for them. We are grateful to have found out about and been selected to receive this grant. The Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation is a great foundation to work with!"

―  Krystal D Langston / Fire Marshal / Public Information Officer / Clinton Fire Department

“On behalf of the Oradell Volunteer Fire Department, please except our sincerest thanks to both the Joey D Foundation and the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Without the generosity and hard work of the two foundations, our goal of equipping our members with life saving personal escape systems would not becoming a reality. Living just a few short miles from New York City, we are reminded on a daily basis of the dangers of firefighting and the sacrifice that Joe and the other firefighters made on Black Sunday. With this equipment, our members will have the tools they need to make it out safely should they be faced with a bailout situation. Again, on behalf of our members, thank you for helping keep firefighters safe, both in Oradell and across the country.”

― Oradell Volunteer Fire Department

A family of heroes – It is hard to imagine a family suffering such a tragic loss such as the one that changed the lives of so many that horrific day (Black Sunday). Things would have been very different had the men been equipped with the proper personal Life Safety Rope systems. Since their son’s fall and subsequent passing, the DiBernardo’s have worked tirelessly to make sure that firefighters across North America have the equipment and training they need to stay safe. They established the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation.

They have been an inspiration to many and more importantly have worked tirelessly to save countless lives. Thank you to the DiBernardo’s for exemplifying strength, grace and selflessness in the face of the unthinkable. When I think of their son Joey – I always think of how in that single horrible moment – he took the time to put a fellow firefighter’s life above his own because the man had a wife and kids. Such selflessness, and kindness seems to disappear from the world a little more each day. He was a Hero, as are his family. I can not put into words how much I admire and respect you Barbara Winters DiBernardo Joe DiBernardo You are and will continue to be in my prayers. God Bless the FDNY and all the brave men and women who keep us safe…and their families who worry every day.

― Charlene Viviano

You guys are in my thoughts this weekend. It’s amazing how the weather is the same as it was that day, and I’m in the exact same place doing the exact same thing as I was that day…staffing my home town FD during/after a storm…with many of the same people as 11 years ago. I only met Joey twice. I use to bring the members of my volunteer FD cadet program on a trip to NYC. Our first stop was rescue 3. The last 2 years that Joey was there he gave the cadets a tour of the station, and the rig. He answered questions, and told us why this is the greatest job on earth. He then made time to talk shop with us. We asked various questions about various stuff, he demonstrated several rescue techniques…one we’ll never forget was when he had one of our guys wrapped in a make shift webbing harness he pulled out of his gear, picked him up and slung him over his shoulder like it was nothing. The guy he did this to was about twice Joeys size. The guys here still talk about that. He was a great man. I learned so much from him in 2 short visits. I’m proud to attend the seminar every year, and as my department fights to get funding to purchase escape systems for our members he and the others are a constant reminder of why we need them. God Bless.

― Lieutenant Bill Cadella

I just wanted to email and you how much I enjoyed the conference. It was well worth the trip from Texas and I plan on making it a yearly trip. I really enjoyed the meet and greet on Friday and I hope that you are able to offer that again. As a young member of the fire service it was wonderful to be able to meet some of the men that I look up to. I feel that I received my money’s worth and I would encourage any one to attend next year. I wish that I had had the pleasure of knowing your son, from the stories that I heard last weekend it was easy to tell that he was a fireman’s fireman. I have been challenged to become a better fireman and I feel that I walked away from the conference knowing more than I started with. Thanks again for putting the conference on.

― Firefighter Hudson Babler

I was so honored last year to be asked to present at the first Joey D
Foundation seminar. I was the engine captain where young Joey was assigned as a
probie; from day one it was obvious he was something special. He would be so
proud to see what the Foundation that bears his name is accomplishing. They are
providing world class training to seminar attendees, bail-out ropes for
departments that can’t afford to buy them on their own, and have future plans
to help fire departments that have suffered losses to get back on their feet.
I’m proud to have worked with both Joey and Chief DiBernardo and I look forward
to seeing you at this year’s seminar.

― FDNY Battalion Chief John Salka (Ret.)

In June of 2013, I had the privilege of attending the very first 2013 Lt. Joey DiBernardo Training Seminar as a rookie firefighter. If you were there too – then I thank you. It was profoundly humbling to be received with such warm friendship and the deepest, truest sense of brotherhood and sisterhood in the fire service. The caliber of training that we received was unparalleled and life-defining. There have been countless moments since then, when I have asked myself, how Lt. Joey DiBernardo would have handled a tough situation in life. Although I didn’t have the privilege of ever knowing him personally, through meeting Chief DiBernardo and his lovely wife Barbara, along with all of extraordinary men and women at the seminar, I found an even deeper sense of resolve. A purpose to always strive to be better and stronger, to never give up, and to tell firefighters everywhere in Michigan and in my travels, about personal life safety rope systems. Thank you all for such powerful inspirational and training.

― Firefighter/EMT Rita M. Duff

During my fire service career as Executive Editor for Firehouse Magazine and currently as FDNY Editor for WNYF (With New York Firefighters) and my avocation as a volunteer Firefighter, I have attended most all of the popular conventions and conferences—Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC), New York State Chiefs, International Chiefs, Firehouse Expo, FDNY/FDNY Foundation Symposium, New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.

The Lieutenant Joey DiBernardo Training Seminar, however, ranks among the best. Top shelf all the way. How can you lose when being taught by some of the absolute best and most knowledgeable speakers in the fire service?

The cozy venue promoted interaction with the speakers and other attendees. Lunchtime also provided an opportunity to exchange stories and notes. Typically, when I attend these functions, I bring work with me, just in case I become bored. I never pulled out my work at this seminar. A high bar has been set. I strongly recommend this learning experience; a weekend well-spent.

― Janet Kimmerly
Past Editor, WNYF, FDNY
Volunteer Firefighter Protection Engine Company #1 of the Port Washington, NY, Fire Department

The members of the Ashland Fire Department would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation & the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Our department has been fortunate to receive this very special grant awarded that will be used to outfit 26 of our firefighters with bail out systems. This equipment will be issued to each of our members enabling us to outfit the entire department. We have been given an amazing gift that has not only provided us the equipment, it has enabled us to provide our firefighters with a higher level of protection and safety while on the job.
Both the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation & the Leary Firefighters Foundation are on a mission to keep firefighters safe and we are extremely proud to now be part of that mission. We will never forget Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo for his dedication to the fire service and making the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you again for your tireless dedication to keeping us safe!

- Lieutenant Matthew J. Boland
Ashland, Massachusetts 

The Orono Fire Department sincerely appreciates your foundation's unwavering support to our organization. The lifesaving firefighter bailout equipment being purchased would not have been possible without your gracious contribution. We will be able to outfit twenty firefighters with the $7,856 awarded to our department. Your foundation truly upholds the core values of your mission and we are honored to have been a benefactor.

We will honor Joey's legacy here at the Orono Fire Department by encouraging people to donate to your foundation. Our current and future firefighters will be continuously reminded the equipment we received was due to the unfortunate sacrifice Joey made in the line of duty. Lastly, we will train with out equipment to reduce the chance of our members making the ultimate sacrifice if they too are faced with an unimaginable event.

- Kevin Sirois, Deputy Chief
Orono Fire Department
Orono, Maine