George Grant Mason School’s 'Hearts for Heroes' cards thank Tuxedo first responders

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  • George Grant Mason third-grader Nyah Cook reads her þÄúHearts for HeroesþÄù card she made for Tuxedo Ambulance Corps members Katie Marusch, Ed Mattes and Greg Berger.

  • Tuxedo Ambulance Corps members Katie Marusch, Ed Mattes and Greg Berger with Jennifer Porr and her third-grade class.

  • Tuxedo Police Officer Gerard Shilo has lots of cards to share with his þÄúspecial someone,þÄù courtesy of Angela RushþÄôs second-grade class.

  • Tuxedo Fire Department Capt. Brian Malone answers questions about firefighting equipment in Jane GisonnaþÄôs first-grade class.

  • Provided photos Jane Gisonna and her first-graders show off the þÄúHearts for HeroesþÄù cards they made for Tuxedo Fire Department Capt. Brian Malone and the Tuxedo Fire Department.

— ‘Tis the season for affection, and George Grant Mason School first, second and third-graders used it as an opportunity to show their fondness for Tuxedo’s first responders earlier this week.

While flowers, candy and assorted gifts will be exchanged on Valentine’s Day this upcoming weekend, students created handmade “Hearts for Heroes” cards and gave them to representatives of Tuxedo’s police and fire departments and ambulance corps this past Tuesday.

Community connections
“The cards are a small gesture of gratitude by our younger students to all of our emergency professionals to say they care about them and appreciate all they do to protect and teach them,” said Jason Schrammel, Tuxedo’s K-12 principal. “The fact that our police, fire and EMS friends are always interested in visiting our classrooms again demonstrates the importance of community connections and the strong relationships we have with groups like these.”

Jennifer Porr’s third-grade class made cards for the Tuxedo Ambulance Corps. Katie Marusch and Ed Mattes and paramedic Greg Berger visited her class and spoke to students about the care they provide to those in need.

The trio listened as three class representatives read their cards - decorated with hearts and ambulance corps vehicles - out loud.

'We take care of the community'

“These cards show us that we’ve accomplished our mission in the community by providing good service,” Berger said afterward. ‘This (meeting with students) is a reflection of what we do. We take care of the community.”

Added Marusch: “This was wonderful and they’re such good artists.”

In Jane Gisonna’s first-grade class, students happily held their cards as they asked Capt. Brian Malone a variety of firefighting questions. They seemed most interested in the pieces of equipment he uses to break down doors, so Malone drew them pictures as a way of teaching the class more about how firefighting apparatus is used.

Malone promised to share the hand drawn, sticker-embellished heart cards with his volunteer firefighter colleagues and hang them up in the fire house for all to see.

“These are so nice,” Malone added. “They’re made from the hearts of the kids.”

First-grader Hamza Imran was glad to know the cards would be shared.

“He can take ‘our care’ to other people,” he said.

And in Angela Rush’s second-grade class, children were anxious to not only share their heart cards with Tuxedo Police Officer Gerard Shilo, but to learn about the many items attached to his belt.

What the cards tell me
Shilo answered those questions, holding up select items and explaining their roles as a basket filled with pink and red heart cards sat nearby.

Holding a bunch of those cards, Shilo complimented students on their creative art work and kind words.

“This makes me feel good,” Shilo said. “Because it tells me all of our actions are appreciated, whether it’s standing out in front of the school in the morning as kids get off the bus or helping someone in an accident or the service we provide in the middle of the night that no one knows about because they’re sleeping. I’m going to share these all with my ‘special someone.’”

And that made second-grader Nicholas Maretzo glad.

“It makes me happy,” he said, “to know someone else is happy.”

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