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2008 Detroit Auto Show: The Chrysler Foundation Donates $25,000 Toward the Restoration of the Fallen Firefighters' Memorial

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  • SEE ALSO: Complete 2008 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
  • Chrysler LLC also donates commemorative challenge coins and Accountability System to its Hometown Heroes - Detroit's Firefighters

    DETROIT, Jan. 15 -- For the seventh consecutive year, Chrysler LLC will demonstrate its support and respect for its hometown heroes -- Detroit's firefighters -- as part of the North American International Auto Show press days.

    During the Auto Show, the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, across from Cobo Center, is renamed The Chrysler Firehouse. To kick-off the festivities at The Firehouse, the Company recognizes the Detroit Firefighters and includes them in its charitable giving.

    Last night, Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli presented a donation for $25,000 toward the restoration of the Fallen Firefighters' Memorial on behalf of The Chrysler Foundation. Traditionally, firefighters who died in the line of duty were carried to their final resting place on a fire apparatus. However, modern-day vehicles loaded with firefighting equipment, lack the space to allow them a role in this ritual. To continue this tradition, the Detroit Fire Department will restore a 1937 Seagrave Safety Sedan, a back-in- the-day fire pumper that carried firefighters to the rescue, and use it as a hearse.

    Chrysler also donated commemorative challenge coins and an Accountability System for all emergency responders located throughout the Detroit Fire Department. Combined, the donation's total value is nearly $65,000.

    "At Chrysler, we do a great deal to make our cars and trucks the stars of the auto show press events," said Nardelli. "But tonight, the stars are the heroes who put their lives on the line every day for the citizens of Detroit. Speaking on behalf of all of us at Chrysler, it is an honor to be associated with the Detroit Fire Department and to show our support for everything they do."

    More than 1,500 employees of the Detroit Fire Department -- civilian and uniform -- will now have a commemorative coin donated on behalf of Chrysler. The Accountability System will be used by all 41 firehouses across the city.

    The significance of the challenge coin dates back to World War I when the coins were created by an officer and presented to his squad as mementos of their service together. As years have passed, the coins have represented membership in armed forces, police and fire departments and also used as morale boosters.

    The Accountability System includes a Command Board, a Sector Board and Accountability Tags. This equipment enables firefighters to gather information like hydrant location, street names and fire companies on the scene. The system also helps the department keep track of manpower deployment so that firefighters remain safe while fighting fires.

    "Detroit's fallen heroes deserve a final ride on something as grand as the Seagrave Safety Sedan," said Fred Anderson, President of the Firefighter's Fund Association. "On behalf of the Detroit Fire department, we thank The Chrysler Foundation for helping us restore this vehicle so that we can honor our members on the last stop to their final resting place."

    "The challenge coins and the Accountability System are timely and greatly appreciated," said Tyrone Scott, Fire Commissioner. "The Accountability System will enable our firefighters to increase the number of people we can keep safe and help them keep track of manpower deployment. The new system will ensure that our brave men and women always have as much information possible in order to save lives and keep themselves safe."

    The 1937 Seagrave Safety Sedan will be on display at the Auto Show.

    The Chrysler Foundation is the primary source of charitable grants made by Chrysler LLC. The Foundation annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations with an emphasis on community growth and enrichment, arts and culture, education, and youth development programs throughout the United States and increasingly, the world. In 2007, The Chrysler Foundation's charitable donations were approximately $21 million.