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Firefighters IAFF Local 313, TeleTech support Operation Warm

More than 350 children in Monongalia County will be warmer in brand new coats this winter, thanks to the Morgantown Firefighters IAFF Local 313.

“All the time in emergency situations, we’re being reactive to kids stuck in the cold,” said Derek Porter, the Operation Warm coordinator for Morgantown Firefighters IAFF Local 313. “This is a proactive approach to keep the kids from getting into those situations where they end up injured or sick from the elements by not having a nice big coat to wear.”

The association has participated in the Operation Warm program for three years. The national program provides new winter coats to children in need.

Last week, Local 313 was able to give coats to 360 children in kindergarten and first grade at nine local elementary schools. All of the coats are made in the U.S. and are purchased with donations from the community.

Porter said the organization spent about $7,000 on coats this year. Local 313 works with counselors, principals and teachers to determine which students are in need of a new coat.

Local 1, in Pittsburgh, hosted a one-day event in which it give the coats out to the community, but Porter said his concern with that method is transportation as well as how to spread the word for maximum effectiveness.

“With the school system they are able to identify the child who needs the coat because they are in and out of the classroom every day,” Porter said.

TeleTech has been a primary contributor to the project, Porter said. TeleTech donated $5,000 this year and $3,000 in 2018. Operation Warm has grown each year and the members of Local 313 thanked those who have donated.

“Operation Warm builds self-esteem for kids that get their own coat. The smiles on their faces that they get when they receive a coat of their own is incredible,” said Porter. “All the materialistic things are so small when you realize that there are kids out there that don’t have something as simple as a coat. It’s a humbling, heartwarming experience.”

To learn more about Operation Warm or make a donation, visit or contact Derek Porter at

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