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Pilot Club gives 'smiles and comfort' to fire dept.
loc slt dalmations
Great Bend Fire Department Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins and Chief Mike Napolitano pose with members of the Pilot Club and some of the dalmatian toys the club is donating to the GBFD - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Pilot Club members wanted to do something for the Great Bend Fire Department during its Care and Kindness Week, but the firefighters chose a gift they could pass on to community children, said Pilot Club chapter president Betty Schneider.
Pilot Club had just the thing; last week, the club presented GBFD Chief Mike Napolitano and Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins with 50 stuffed dalmatian dogs, which were the outcome of the “Project Smile and Comfort for Traumatized Children” grant.
Club cochairs worked with Thill Printing to order the toys and place the fire department’s logo on a red scarf around each dalmatian’s neck.
These “Project Smile Dogs” or fire dogs are given to children under the age of 10 who experience loss and trauma due to house fires, car accidents, witnessing a crime or other traumatic events. Great Bend Firefighters started a program of gifting dalmatian dogs in 2011 and the Pilot Club was able to help continue this compassionate program through a matching grant from the Pilot International grant divisions program.