The enduring tradition of the Station 16 Holiday Party, initiated by the first African American firefighters of Atlanta Fire Rescue Station 16 in 1972, marked another successful year.
This event, rooted in community spirit and togetherness, celebrated its 53rd anniversary, underscoring its status as one of Atlanta’s most cherished annual holiday gatherings.
The tradition began when the pioneering African American firefighters, who were also instrumental in integrating the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department six decades ago, decided to bring joy and festive spirit to their local community.
Situated in the heart of neighborhoods like English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park, Station 16 has been a beacon of unity and service.
The 2023 event saw the largest turnout since the pandemic, with over 600 neighbors joining in the celebrations.
This year’s event was marked by significant community involvement and corporate support.
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation, playing a key role in organizing the event, received its largest corporate donation from Norfolk Southern, amplifying the scope of the celebration.
The partnership with the Empty Stocking Fund enabled families to choose gifts for children, adding a unique touch to the festivities.
The holiday party featured a return to its original menu, offering a traditional home-cooked holiday meal.
Local culinary delights from Doug’s North Carolina BBQ and K&K Soul Food added to the festive atmosphere, serving dishes like smoked whole turkeys, mac and cheese, collard greens, and sweet potato casserole.
In a remarkable display of generosity, every family received new toys, bicycles, and even laptops.
This was made possible through contributions from various community partners and businesses, including Accenture, Austin Realty & Co., Bankhead Seafood, Compudopt, and the Trap Music Museum, in collaboration with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation.
Taos Wynn, Interim President and CEO of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation, expressed immense pride in the event’s legacy and its connection to the firefighters who integrated the department.
Smith from the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department highlighted the importance of firefighters in community life, emphasizing the joy of sharing and celebrating together during the holiday season.
Founded in 2004, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation (AFRF) is a key supporter of public safety personnel in Atlanta, focusing on community engagement and equitable access to fire and EMS services.
It actively supports youth development, continuing education for firefighters, and improvements in fire and EMS stations.