Chicago firefighter launches water drive for residents of Flint, Michigan

CHICAGO - Eric Washington, a Chicago firefighter and member of the African American Firefighters and Paramedics League of Chicago (AAFFPL), is collecting water for the residents of Flint, Mich. in the wake of the city’s current water crisis. Washington, who began a GoFundMe account aiming to raise $15,000 worth of bottled water for Flint by Friday, January 29, said today he has exceed that goal and will now try to raised $20,000.

“This started as something small where I planned to rent a U-Haul truck, fill it with water and drive it to Flint. It all started on Monday morning (January 18th) after watching the crisis on CNN and thinking there must be something I can do,” said Washington, who plans to personally travel with the water to Flint, a city of about 100,000 residents, located approximately 270 miles from Chicago. For months, Flint residents have been exposed to elevated levels of lead in the city’s water.

“I'm way beyond a U-Haul now,” laughs Washington who has been joined by JB Hunt, a logistics transportation company pledging to donate trucks and trailers to deliver the water.

AAFFPL President Gregory Boggs said members are moved and excited about Washington’s humanitarian effort. “Anything we can do to help Flint is a noble effort and what Eric is doing is outstanding,” Boggs said.  “Our league campaigns for social change and to have more African Americans in the Chicago Fire Department. Eric fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter and is a shining example of what it means to be a member of the African American Firefighters and Paramedics League.”

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