Singing firemen donate to assistive technology organization

Sunday, December 18, 2005

YARMOUTH, Maine -- A vocal sextet of professional firemen gave a non-profit organization that funds assistive technology for children an early Christmas gift on Nov. 30, when it began donating proceeds from the sale of its holiday CD.

The Garland, Texas-based FireForce began selling its CD, "Home for Christmas," at for $20 earlier that month. The group donates proceeds to the Tacoma, Wash.-based National Organization Caring for Kids (NOCK), which funds wheelchairs, gate trainers and communication devices for chronically ill children whose families "fall between the cracks."

"Your Medicaid kids tend to get the things they need," said Robert Cooper, a Kansas City, Mo.-based general manager for United Seating and Mobility who sits on NOCK's board of directors. "Since (assistive technology) is excluded from some insurances or capped by others, the organization is set up to support kids from your middle-class families."

NOCK, formed in 2003, raised about $400,000 in 2005. It provided assistive technology--everything from an $18,000 power wheelchair to a $500 gate trainer--to 36 recipients, Cooper said.

FireForce, which has sung the National Anthem at Texas Rangers baseball games, learned of NOCK through one of the organization's board members who lives in Dallas. The member's father is a police chief and friends with a fireman who sings with the group.

The CD features a mix of contemporary and traditional holiday songs, including "Let it Snow" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Nineteen-year-old Sara Pyszka, who has cerebral palsy, performed the last song, "Grown Up Christmas List," with help from her communication device.