lori-madden-02Lori Madden started volunteering with the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund after her friend told her how fun and rewarding the experience was. That was two years ago and she continues to donate her time to help firefighters in times of crisis. She said, “It was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

When she’s not working as a Special Education Instructional Aide in the Azusa Unified School District, she helps out at exciting events such as the annual LAFD Invitational golf tournament, the El Coyote Hot & Spicy Firefighter Salsa Competition and the Lane Kemper Softball Classic. She enjoys meeting those who attend and help at the events, but her real joy is helping our heroes. “I like knowing that I’m a part of making someone else’s life a little easier,” she said.

Widows & Orphans Event Coordinator Juliet Brandolino enjoys Lori’s enthusiasm. “Lori is so full of energy and excitement. We love having her at the events,” Juliet said.

For Lori, the feeling is mutual. And the admiration and fellowship she feels for the other volunteers also applies to the heroes she’s helping. “I believe the firefighter community is more like a family,” she said. “They are there to help at the drop of a hat.”

She also thinks highly of the charity. She said, “The Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund is an amazing organization. They give families hope when all hope seems lost.”

Because of those factors, she encourages anyone interested in giving their time to a charity to consider Widows & Orphans. “It gives you a feeling of accomplishment. It isn’t every day you actually get to see and meet the people the organization is helping.”

While volunteering at the Lane Kemper Softball Classic, the annual charity tournament named for a beloved firefighter who passed away far too young, she had the opportunity to meet someone special. “One of my favorite memories was meeting Lane Kemper’s brother at the softball tournament,” she said, “and hearing about how much Lane meant to the firefighter community. He seemed like an amazing man.”

If you’d like to be part of fun events and make a difference in the life of a firefighter like Lori does, sign up online to volunteer.

By David Vienna