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George Mason pitcher gives back to local fire department

George Mason pitcher gives back to local fire department
Chad Gartland started a GoFundMe page for the Fairfax City Fire Department. (Credit: Art Pittman/George Mason University Athletics)

FAIRFAX, Va. (BVM) – At George Mason, pitcher Chad Gartland is nicknamed “The Fireman.”

While he has the capability to put out the fire on the mound in dicey situations, that is not necessarily the origin of the nickname. It is because of his number.

Gartland wears No. 21, his father’s badge number at the St. Paul Fire Department in Rochester, New York.

He wore the number throughout high school and got it back at George Mason after playing at Niagara County Community College.

But it’s more than just a number for Gartland. It was his childhood.

“Even when he was at work, we were able to go see him and hang around the firehouse,” Gartland said. “It’s pretty cool going back now and seeing the firefighters that I’ve almost grown up around. It’s just a great atmosphere to be around.”

Gartland knows firsthand the risk and sacrifice a firefighter takes to protect others. So when he thought of an opportunity to give back, it was an easy decision to pursue.

Prior to this season, he created a GoFundMe page for the Fairfax City Fire Department, located a rock throw away from the George Mason campus.

“It was just something I wanted to do,” Gartland said. “I know every little bit helps.”

When he mentioned the idea to teammates and coaches, they gave him their full support. Even the university itself was completely on board, announcing a $10 donation for every strikeout Gartland racks up this year.

“I don’t even have words for the support,” Gartland said. “I really can’t say enough for the help they’ve given me. They’ve been behind me all the way through.”

As the totals of the GoFundMe increase, Gartland knows that every cent and every dollar goes a long way.

“It means the world,” Gartland said. “I see what my dad does, I see the people that he’s helped. He goes to work every day and it’s something new, someone new that he’s helping out. It’s what frontline workers do every day and sometimes it goes unnoticed.”

Gartland is hoping that the page can create long-term awareness of the total expenses of a fire department, but also hopes the money can have a long-lasting impact as well on the firehouse and in the community.

“There’s some top-of-the-line technology that not every fire department can afford,” Gartland said. “Hopefully the money that we raise can help go towards something that is needed and that keeps people safe.”