Firefighters reconnect with school kids through dance video


NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A group of local firefighters are finding a way to reconnect with the community after distance learning bringing a halt to one of their favorite traditions.

Each week for the past three years, the North Smithfield Fire Department comes to the elementary school for “High Five Fridays.”

“As our kiddos are leaving the school to start their weekends they are here to give them high fives and just to wish them a good weekend and to let them know that the community cares for them and that they are here to help,” Principal Jen Daigneault explained.

The tradition pushed to the back seat because of COVID-19. That’s when Fire Marshal Brian Gartland got an idea to make a video to send to the students.

“It started out as let’s just go around and record and say hi to the kids and then it turned into let’s just add a little music to it….with music comes dancing,” said Gartland.

“I laughed throughout the entire thing because it was just so joyous. I thought how funny it would be if I was driving by their fire station and I saw a group of them flossing,” said Daigneault.

The school staff is forever grateful.

“Oh my gosh, I would just thank you and that we love you very much and we are so very, very lucky to be part of your community.”

Fire Marshal Gartland is giving credit to his team saying, “I just had the idea. When it came down to let’s just this….they came up with a lot of the creative ways to express it.”

Both parties are hoping to continue the partnership in September whether it’s virtually or in person.

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