Upper Freehold Firefighters help Allentown coach’s family
Last Thursday, April 22, a tragic 4-alarm fire took the Upper Freehold home of Allentown football coach Mike DeRisi and his wife Kim, an art teacher at the Newell Elementary School. They also lost their two dogs in the blaze. The house was completely burned down, according to Mid-Jersey news, with nothing salvageable.
Blake Nebbia, who left coaching at Allentown to become an Upper Freehold firefighter, was on the scene Monday night on my show to talk about how hard this is hitting everyone, starting with coach DeRisi, who he's spoken to.
"He's very overwhelmed," Nebbia said when he called into my show. "He's trying to do the best that he can. He's trying to keep his family in good spirits".
The couple has a daughter in 8th grade. Fortunately, none were home at the time of the fire.
This has come as quite a shock to Allentown as Nebbia explained on my show, "When you coach for Allentown football or you're a part of that whole school system, it's a tight-knit group so when something happens, you are a big priority and the community wants to help."
He continued on to say, "To that end, the Upper Freehold Professional Firefighters Local 4306 are going to donate art supplies, or gift cards for art supplies to the family since the wife is an art teacher and we want to help in a different way. The local 4306 of Upper Freehold is always looking out for its residents we want to help a resident when they need the help most."
"What we thought of was she had a big art gallery in her basement so we want to help her rebuild that."
What was Nebbia, who left coaching at Allentown to become an Upper Freehold firefighter thinking when he pulled up at the home of his friend and fellow coach?
"Honestly, when you hear it go out, you don't know until you pull up to the house, and you see who it is. But what has to happen is you have to keep your professional outlook and keep doing your job and you have to help them out as best as you can and my way of helping out was trying to put the fire out for them."
If you'd like to help out by dropping off donations, you can do so at the firehouse at 82 Rt. 526 Allentown, New Jersey, 08501. The career staff is there from 6am to 4pm.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.