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What Suffolk is made of

Anytime a firefighter is in need of help, the family of firefighters is there to help.

That’s true almost no matter where you are, but it’s especially true here in Suffolk, where local folks have proved time and time again that — firefighter or not — the community’s got your back.

In the case of Suffolk Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Andre Durham, who was severely injured in a motorcycle crash earlier this year, it didn’t matter whether folks arrived in cars, on fire trucks, on golf carts or even in a mail truck; how much meat they bought; or whether they were a Ruritan member or firefighter or both or neither.

For those who came out to Saturday’s fundraiser sponsored by the partnership between the Suffolk Ruritan Club and Suffolk Professional Fire Fighters Local 2801, it didn’t matter that it was a scorching hot day, either. They were there to support Durham however they could.

Volunteers spent Friday night seasoning the meat to start cooking at 4 a.m. Saturday. Hundreds of folks came out to purchase 108 pork butts and 110 pork ribs drenched in secret sauce.

People like Theresa Kitchen, who used to work with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and now lives in South Carolina but happened to be visiting her grandkids this weekend, came out to support the fundraiser.

“These guys are the best cooks in Suffolk,” Kitchen said. But she made it clear she didn’t come just for the food: “Anything I can do to help out,” she added.

They did it all to support someone who has worked with many of them for the better part of three decades. But there were friends, family, acquaintances and maybe even a few strangers, drawn by the aroma and staying for the good cause, among the crowd.

Durham has had a long road to recovery from his accident in January and still has a long way to go. He is working through multiple eight-hour days of physical therapy weekly in an effort to recover. He was grateful for the support.

“I just can’t thank everyone enough for the continued love and support from my fellow firefighters and the community as well,” Durham said. “It’s amazing how folks come together to help someone when they’re down.”

Indeed, it’s amazing how Suffolk comes together to help people out. We send Durham our well wishes and the volunteers our thanks for showing once again what Suffolk is made of.