Amboy fire company donates $25,000 to fallen New York firefighter fund

Vanguard Safety Wear & Dinges Fire Co. present a $25,000 check to New York City firefighter Anthony Viverito (front row, second from left). He is pictured with (from left) Ryan Pennington, Nick Dinges, Kim Vaessen and Andy Shapiro.

AMBOY — A fire company in Amboy is keeping the spirit of service alive in honor of a fallen New York firefighter.

Van Guard Safety Wear and Dinges Fire Company recently donated $25,000 to the Micheal Kiefer Fund, benefitting the family of fallen Fire Department New York firefighter Michael Kiefer, who died during the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks in New York City. This is the company’s fourth donation to the foundation, which total $60,000 over five years.

The company was founded in 2001 and sells equipment, tools, personal protective equipment, clothing and apparel to local fire stations and emergency medical service agencies throughout northern Illinois. Dinges also provides an annual scholarship to local college students.

“For Vanguard Safety Wear, the effort is particularly personal as Michael’s brother-in-law is a friend of mine and currently an FDNY member,” Vanguard Safety Wear President Andy Shapiro said. “I was in Manhattan on 9/11 while tragically, mine and other surrounding suburban communities suffered many victims on that day.”

Shapiro was inspired to start donating after seeing memorial posters of Keifer, who was from Shapiro’s neighboring town. Shapiro later partnered with Nick Dinges in 2017 to start a glove company. Dinges also is the current assistant fire chief for Sublette.

“He [Shapiro] told me he’d like to memorialize Keifer by putting an “MK” on every pair of gloves we sold,” Dinges said. “We didn’t tell the family for several years until the company was profitable, and then we started donating to the foundation.”

The foundation plans to purchase a transport van that will shuttle sick and injured FDNY firefighters to physician’s appointments.

“I am forever grateful for the generosity of Vanguard Safety Wear for its donation and for always remembering Michael,” Michael’s sister, Kerri Kiefer-Viverito, said in a news release. “From a very young age Michael always wanted to pass by the firehouse and then one day his dream came true. I know what an amazing person Michael was, but when I see others realizing that and continuing to honor his legacy, it makes me smile.”

For more information about the Michael Kiefer Fund and to make a donation, visit

For information on the Dinges Fire Company and Vanguard Safety Wear, visit

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Brandon Clark

I received my Associate's in Communication (Media) from Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, IL. I'm currently finishing my Bachelor of Journalism at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. I enjoy engaging the community in thoughtful discussion on current events and look forward to hearing what you have to say. Stay curious. Stay informed.