Captain Gregory Harvey and Captain Cory McDaniel

May 31, 2018

Crystal Flame Community Service Award

Fire Station 9 is situated right in the mist of the Skid Row District. Flanked by encampments of homeless people in all directions, the station is one of the busiest in the city and the nation. It is not uncommon for the station’s units to respond on 80 calls a day. For Captain Gregory Harvey and newly appointed Captain Cory McDaniel, having been assigned to 9’s in 2016, responding to fire and countless medical emergencies was all in a day’s work.

Captain Gregory Harvey

Captain Cory McDaniel

Now one would think living together 24 hours at a time at work would be enough. Yet, outside “the office” as they called it, Harvey and McDaniel are both family men living oddly parallel lives. With residents approximately 100 yards away from one another, they are both married with three young daughters—all under the age of 10—who go to school together, play together, and await their father’s return together. And for these corresponding reasons, namely the girls, the two men were inspired to launch a battalion-wide school supply drive. So, in the summer of 2016, after discussing their own daughter’s return to school, the two men began to wonder – How do the children of skid row prepare for school? Without parents with means to support them, how do they ready themselves for the school year to come?

Harvey Family

McDaniel ladies

With these questions in mind, Harvey and McDaniel set out to start a school supply drive. The drive would benefit the Union Rescue Mission—the only mission in Skid Row that houses children and their families. With this goal in mind, they began to raise the idea throughout the ranks of their battalion. Collection boxes were placed at each station, with LAFD members contributing the supplies themselves. In the first year, the two deemed the drive a success, raising nearly $1000 in supplies. Wanting to do more in the future, Harvey and McDaniel hope to make the charitable drive an annual event, one that will hopefully spread department-wide, serving underprivileged children throughout the city.

According to McDaniel, he and Captain Harvey “wanted to get the kids excited about school because that’s what will get them off of Skid Row.” For these two men working in a struggling neighborhood, being of service means more than just the normal responsibilities of a member of the LAFD – it means watching out for everyone.

Though the two men no longer serve together at the same fire station, they remain fully committed to helping the City’s most vulnerable children. Their willingness to go above and beyond their day-to-day jobs has rightfully earned them the Crystal Flame Community Service Award.

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