VIRGINIA

Donations to aid Arlington Co. Fire, Falls Church Police

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A major donation is boosting crime fighting in Northern Virginia.

The Arlington County Fire Department and Falls Church Police Department were given nearly $40,000 worth of life-saving equipment.

The police are getting a search-and-rescue robot. And Arlington's bomb squad and explosive canine handlers get two protective suits.

Barry Pitkin and Pamela Pitkin, his sister, helped round up some of the money for the donations. They're Firehouse Subs franchise owners.

"Especially when you see things that have happened in Boston and some other places, you realize how important and how critical all these different tools are for our first responders," Barry Pitkin says.

"I have a background in emergency medicine and law enforcement, so it does my heart good to know that I can actually contribute and help out those I can't participate in right now," says Pamela Pitkin.

The chain was founded by two brothers, former firefighters with a passion for paying it forward.

Their 600-plus restaurants have raised more than $6 million for first responders, including nearly $300,000 in Virginia.

"People can provide a donation in our donation box," Barry Pitkin says.

The extra change gets pumped into the restaurant's Public Safety Foundation, then into the hands of the hometown heroes.

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