Firefighters sell bracelets to benefit families of Isler, Monroe
By Joanie Morris
KANNAPOLIS ó When Kannapolis Fire Capt. Justin Hahn heard that two brother firefighters had lost their lives in the March 7 Salisbury Millwork fire, he was in shock.
“It was overwhelming for all of us who had worked there before,” Hahn said, referring to his time at the Salisbury Fire Department prior to transferring to Kannapolis. “We tried to just be there for the guys.”
Now, Hahn and fellow Kannapolis firefighters are trying to be there for the families of Victor Isler and Justin Monroe.
Hahn is selling red, molded bracelets, similar to the “Live Strong” bracelets made popular by cyclist Lance Armstrong, to benefit the families of the two fallen firefighters. Each bracelet has written on it, “Salisbury Fire, 3/7/08, 2 fallen brothers.”
The bracelets are being sold for a minimum donation of $2, though more will be accepted, Hahn said. All of the proceeds go to the fund set up by the Salisbury Fire Department for the two families.
The Kannapolis-Concord International Association of Firefighters union bought the first 500 bracelets, while Hahn and several other Kannapolis firefighters who previously worked in Salisbury bought another 500.
Those are already gone, and Hahn has purchased 500 more to sell, and will continue to purchase bracelets as long as there is a demand. So far, the Kannapolis Fire Department has raised $2,000 for the fund.
“We’ve done pretty well,” Hahn said. “I’d like to be able to donate $10,000 to the foundation. That’s our goal.”
Hahn worked at Salisbury Fire Station Nos. 1 and 3 for 31/2 years before transferring to the Kannapolis Fire Department. He didn’t know Monroe or Isler personally, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for him to know brothers fell that day.
In addition to the bracelets the department is selling, Hahn said Kannapolis firefighters are also making sure that every firefighter who works for Salisbury will have a bracelet. Those will be delivered today, when Hahn gets off duty at Kannapolis Fire Station No. 3.
Charlotte Fire Department is also getting in on the action, Hahn said. Volunteers there are selling the bracelets to fellow firefighters and relatives to help raise money for the families of Isler and Monroe.
Hahn said the Kannapolis Fire Department decided this would be the best way to help the families after looking at all the other ways members of the community had stepped up.
“We were looking for something somebody else hadn’t already done,” Hahn said. “Hopefully, we’re going to donate as much as we can.”
Hahn and other Kannapolis firefighters donated $4,000 to the fund set up for the Charleston, S.C., firefighters who died last year, selling bracelets then as well. He’s hoping the local response will push the funds raised over the goal of $10,000.
The bracelets are available by contacting Hahn at email@example.com or calling 704-791-6853. They will also be available at Salisbury Fire Station No. 1, 514 E. Innes St., as long as supplies last.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.