Some area businesses are lending a hand following the Webster shooting. Dozens of businesses have volunteered to rent hotel rooms for firefighters traveling to Rochester to attend the funerals of Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.
Firefighters from all over the country will be traveling to the Rochester area Friday, an expected 5,000 firefighters throughout the weekend. The community and area businesses are donating everything from their time to food and hotel rooms.
The close-knit town of Webster has spent all Christmas week grieving. And this weekend, thousands of visiting firefighters and their families will join them.
"A firefighter will not be paying for a room if we have anything to say about it,” said Jaime Dengal-Story, Hampton Inn director of sales.
A number of hotels throughout Monroe County like Hampton Inn are offering free rooms for the Chiapperini and Kaczowka families. Discounted rooms are being offered to visiting firefighters thanks to donations the hotels have received nationwide.
“I found that most people calling in have a story, they have a firefighter or first responder as a brother, father, grandfather and they just want to do anything they possibly can. It's the first responders who are there when you need them," said Dengal-Story.
That same story hit close to home in the 'Visit Rochester' office, where they specialize in attracting people to all Rochester has to offer.
"Our CFO is the sister of the president of the West Webster Fire Department's Association,” said Michael Hardy, VisitRochester.
Twenty-two of VisitRochesters' 40 lodging partners have jumped on board offering discounted rates for a total of 2,000 rooms.
"When the people are coming, even though what it is they're coming for, they're gonna get Some hospitality and our hotels and their staffs will embrace those people and try to make them feel as comfortable as they can under such a sad situation,” said Hardy.
The Hampton Inn will host daily receptions throughout the weekend, a gathering place for firefighters and families.
"I started this store in 2005, I've been part of the community, I know a lot of people in town,” said Sean Curtis, owner of a Mark's Pizzeria location.
Local restaurants, many of whom have served the Webster community for years, have donated food.
"I own a pizzeria so I donate pizza. If people have money they can donate hotels rooms. It doesn't matter who you are just give back a little bit,” said Curtis.
Calling hours for Chiapperini and Kaczowka are on Friday evening for local police and firefighters only. Calling hours for the public will take place Saturday.
And out of a tragedy, the families of those taken will be uplifted by fellow firefighters around the country.
"It shows you that there is good. Bad does happen, but there's still a lot of good out there,” said Curtis.
Another way you can help is by donating gift cards to participating hotels so they can purchase food for those staying in the hotels throughout the weekend.
Hampton Inn Webster
Hampton Inn Rochester North
Quality Inn Airport
Hyatt Regency Rochester
DoubleTree by Hilton Rochester
RIT Inn & Conference Center
Hampton Inn Irondequoit
Homewood Suites Rochester-Greece
Holiday Inn Express - Irondequoit
Homewood Suites - Henrietta
Comfort Suites - Henrietta
Best Western Marketplace Inn
Woodcliff Hotel & Spa
LaQuinta Inn & Suites South
East Ave Inn
Holiday Inn Airport
Holiday Inn & Suites Marketplace