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Thursday, 05/31/2012

Comedy tour stopping to help West Metro

Clarke Reader

Nothing is funny about the loss of lives, including emergency response personnel, because of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But one former firefighter is using humor to memorialize New York City firefighters who lost their lives while responding to the attacks. And he’s also helping fire departments across the country raise money.

The Laughter Saves Lives comedy tour will come to Lakewood to benefit the West Metro Fire Department, which will use funds raised on a project to recreate the city’s first fire station.

On Friday, June 8, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Steve “Mudflap” McGrew, Steve Alleva and J Jay Boyd will put on a comedy show at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, as part of the Laughter Saves Lives tour.

The tour is the brainchild of retired New York City firefighter and stand-up comedian John Larrochia, who wanted to come up with a way to raise money for local firefighters’ charities around the country and keep alive the memory of the 19 firefighters from Larrochia’s firehouse who died.

“In honor of the lost firefighters, John puts on this tour,” said Dean Wahl, president of the West Metro Fire Rescue Foundation. “He comes out here and produces the show for us, and we promote it. Ninety-three percent of the proceeds will go to our foundation, and the other 7 percent go to John to keep him doing shows.”

Wahl and Larrochia met when Larrochia was in the area teaching about new haz-mat equipment, and the two got to talking. It was then that the two men realized they had something in common.

“After 9/11 our firehouse reached out to John’s Haz-Mat Company 1, Squad 228 firehouse and helped the families out,” Wahl said. “We have their firehouse name on our engine in memory, but we had never met. When John put it together that we were the ones that had been helping, he said he had to do a show here.”

Through the West Metro’s family-support network, many of the firefighter’s wives lent a helping hand to families in New York City, assisting with support and organizing things, and the station sent a bench made of Red Rocks flagstone to Larrochia’s station.

Wahl said that having this event in Lakewood is a way for the relationship between the two stations to come full circle.

“We’re helping John in fullfilling his mission of remembering his brothers, and we have a chance to use his platform to raise awareness about our efforts,” he said.

For more information on the event, call 303-987-7845 or go to www.laughtersaveslives.org.

Tuesday 09/27/2011: Good Day Columbus Anchorman Pete Scalia talks to Comedian & FDNY 9/11 First Responder John Larocchia who had performed at the Funny Bone that night.

All proceeds from the event benefited The Burn Center at The Ohio State University Medical Center and the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation.

Follow the link to see the interview with John from Fox 28’s Good Day Columbus that morning. LINK: WTTE FOX 28 - Good Day Columbus - TUESDAY: Funny Firefighter


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