Triton Alumni Give Back. Local Fire Stations and Schools Receive Over $48,000 in Local Grants to Enhance Community Safety.

IMG_1012By: Rachel K. Hindery

From left to right, Firehouse Subs Stone Park Franchisee Carmia Stanovich, Lieutenant Joe Tropea, Firefighter Richie Dalitto and Firefighter Justin Posner. The Melrose Park Fire Department received a $12,433 grant for new equipment from the Firehouse Subs Foundation. Stanovich is a Triton College Alumna.

By: Rachel K. Hindery

Firehouse Subs has expanded it’s philanthropy nationally, awarding more than $28 million in public safety grants to date, according the Firehouse Subs Foundation website,

As Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast in September 2005, Kenneth Carling left with the first deployment of Illinois firefighters, serving for ten days amid the destruction. Twelve years later, Carling is a captain in the Hillside Fire Department.

Chris and Robin Sorensen, co-founders of the Firehouse Subs restaurant franchise, responded to Katrina’s wake in their own way, feeding survivors and those on the recovery’s front lines.

IMG_1021Firehouse Subs Area Representative Samuel Stanovich addresses grant recipients at a ceremony. Stanovich has taught the Introduction to Hospitality course at Triton College.

In a ceremony at Firehouse Subs at 3124 W. North Ave. in Stone Park, local fire stations and a school received more than $48,000 in grants to enhance their community’s safety. According to a Firehouse Subs press release, recipients were:

  • Franklin Park Fire Department: $4,178 for five gas meters to replace older meters.
  • Hillside Fire Department: $22,035 for extrication equipment.
  • Melrose Park Fire Department: $12,433 for new equipment which will be installed on their new fire engine.
  • Walther Christian Academy, Melrose Park: $9,718 for fire detection and alarm equipment in the gym and locker rooms.

During the Aug. 10 ceremony, grant recipients expressed thanks. Many noted that the grants allowed them to identify and overcome the specific needs or challenges of their community: protecting industrial areas in Franklin Park with more sensitive meters, or ensuring that motorists on Hillside’s highways are removed quickly after a car crash.

Many of the Firehouse Subs staff and grantees had connections to Triton College. Firehouse Subs Area Representative Samuel Stanovich, Firehouse Subs Stone Park Franchisee Carmia Stanovich, Carling and Melrose Park Assistant Fire Chief James Wrosch each have links to the Triton Trojans.

IMG_1058Captain Kenneth Carling is a Triton College alumnus, and serves in the Hillside Fire Department. The Hillside Fire Department received a $22,035 grant for extrication equipment from the Firehouse Subs Foundation.

Carmia Stanovich, in a March 2017 interview in Triton’s Fifth Avenue Journal, described how her time as both a student and Hospitality Industry Administration instructor segued to her career as a franchisee. “…The passion of the faculty and the real-world experiences they shared validated and continued to inspire my career to move forward in the industry,” Stanovich said.

Samuel Stanovich also recalls teaching the Introduction to Hospitality Course. His biggest motivation “…was the ability to give back to future generations of hospitality professionals,” Stanovich said.

Stanovich named other Triton professionals, such as Jerome Drosos, as an inspiration. For Stanovich, community colleges have benefits for students at each point in their vocation. “They can live, work and learn all in the same area as they develop their skills to figure out their future careers,” Stanovich said.

Wrosch expressed similar views, saying that a community college such as Triton is “a great local resource and community partner.” Wrosch and other local firefighters share their expertise with Triton. “We go to EMS [emergency medical services] advisory meetings at least twice a year,” Wrosch said, adding that fire department staff also serve as assistant proctors for the state fire marshal test.

IMG_1060Melrose Park Assistant Fire Chief James Wrosch attends Emergency Medical Services advisory meetings at Triton College and serves as an assistant proctor for the state fire marshal test. The Melrose Park Fire Department received a $12,433 grant for new equipment from the Firehouse Subs Foundation.

There’s always a demand for well-educated, well-rounded people in the fire service, and with Triton’s educational programs, various towns are receiving them,” Carling said. Carling emphasized that skills learned at Triton, where he earned an associate’s degree, stayed with him as he continued his education at Southern Illinois University. “Triton helped me get to that next level…It gave me a great educational foundation to go on and receive my bachelor’s degree,” Carling said.

Each grant recipient community is part of Triton’s district. “It’s always good to represent the towns in Triton’s district,” Carling said. As a longtime Hillside resident, “I grew up in the town that I serve and protect now.”

Diners can be part of Firehouse Subs funding through buying a used pickle jar or rounding up change for a meal. The restaurant will feature specials during October—National Fire Safety Month. For details, visit



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s