NJ firefighter’s memory lives on through books donated to local libraries
Cinnaminson Fire Lt. Christopher Hunter and three fellow firefighters who worked the same shift were once known as "Hunter's Heroes" for the numerous events they heroically responded to as a unit.
But after Hunter's death in November 2014 following one of these responses, the nickname took on an entirely new meaning.
The Hunter's Heroes Foundation continues Hunter's lifelong love of reading, specifically fire and first-response training books, by donating these volumes — which can often be either hard to find, expensive, or both— to libraries.
The organization, run by Hunter's widow Claire and the other original Hunter's Heroes, has been in operation for nearly a year and has established partnerships with the Burlington County, Cinnaminson and Willingboro public libraries.
"He loved to read," Claire said. "He was always about bettering himself, his crew, his department."
Willingboro is the most recent library to come on board, having been one of the first to show interest in the program. Hunter's Heroes is planning to expand into Cherry Hill and soon, many other towns around the state.
"I thought it would be a great idea to honor him by reaching out to local libraries for these fire departments," Claire said, with the idea that first responders could have access to the types of books that her husband loved and learned from without having to purchase them.
The organization's mission is to "educate and motivate," but for Claire, the name of the group itself remains a key to its success.
"My son would go to school and his gym teacher would ask, 'Is Hunter's Heroes on today?'" she said. "So the name just kind of stuck."
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.