Before I stepped up to the tap, I had the chance to speak with Noreen Lucey Fabrycki, whose cousin, actor Denis Leary, founded the Leary Firefighters Foundation following the tragic 1999 Cold Storage Warehouse fire in Worcester, Massachusetts. Fabrycki's brother was one of the Worcester 6: Six firefighters who perished during the five-alarm blaze, which was ignited when a homeless couple living inside the abandoned building knocked over a candle. A childhood friend of Leary's also died.
The Leary Firefighters Foundation's mission is to fund the purchase of the best available equipment, technology and training for fire departments in New England and throughout the country. The $10 million the foundation has raised since its inception has been used, for example, to purchase a high-speed fire rescue boat for the Boston Fire Department and to construct a state-of-the-art high-rise training facility for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) following 9/11.
Fabrycki told me that Guinness's offer to team up for a fundraising promotion was the "first time a corporation has wanted to offer a donation to the foundation." Not only will this partnership provide financial support, it helps to keep the story of the Worcester 6 alive. For the families who lost loved ones, including 17 children left fatherless, Fabrycki says the driving aim has always been: "What can happen out of this so it's not for nothing? The changes that have happened because of the fire have saved a multitude of lives," she said.
In addition to adding your personalized virtual pint glass to the "$100,000 Pour," the Leary Firefighters Foundation gratefully accepts donations, which can be made online or by mail, from fans of firefighters who want to do more.
I tried to do my part to win a $2,000 donation to the Leary Firefighters Foundation in my name when Guinness invited contenders from New England media outlets to compete in a "Pour the Perfect Pint" competition at Dillon's Restaurant in Boston's Back Bay. I'm Type A, as I told Boston.com photographer Laurie Swope (see her event photos). So, I studied the six steps to pour the perfect pint of GUINNESS. And I practiced at home for days, but pouring out of a GUINNESS can wasn't quite the same as controlling the flow from a tap. I also tried--unsuccessfully--to convince Guinness Sales Specialist and recent transplant from Dublin Padraig Fox to allow me a practice pour.
In the end, my undoing was listening to the advice of Facebook friends and my colleague and coach, Bob Curley, who encouraged me to try to trace a shamrock in the head. It looked so easy in this video! But ultimately, this bold strategy backfired, and I made my pint cry. You can see my pitiful pour if you look carefully at the photo above of me toasting the gracious winner, Metro reporter Morgan Rousseau.
If you're 21 or over, you can help me shake off the agony of defeat by being one of at least 2,000 people who I inspire to send a text and join Guinness in supporting fire-fighting heroes this St. Patrick's Day season.