OMAHA — An Omaha firefighter received a national award Thursday for his work helping families rebuild after residential fires.
Drew Gerken was presented with the Firefighter Hero Award from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The ceremony was held at the fire station at 956 S. 48th St. where Gerken works.
In 2013, Gerken started the Furniture Project, which provides furnishings to families whose homes have been destroyed by fire. He organizes teams of volunteers that pick up donated furniture and then deliver it to families in need.
Gerken’s project also was in the spotlight last December when he got a got a surprise delivery of a new box truck while appearing on “Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe.” Rowe travels across the U.S. in search of people who are giving back to their community.
At the end of each episode, the person being profiled is given something to help them with the work they are doing. The show presented Gerken with a Ford E-350 truck with “The Furniture Project” written on the sides.
The show also donated 100 bunk beds and paid for four years of rent for three units at an Omaha storage facility where Gerken keeps furniture. For information on Gerken’s work, go to: thefurnitureproject.org.