FDNY Foundation salutes Maspeth businessman for providing support for firehouses, EMS stations across Queens

The FDNY Foundation salutes Maspeth businessman Wally Poon for his years of support at Queens firehouses and EMS stations.
Photo by Randy Barron

A Maspeth businessman was honored by the FDNY Foundation for his years of philanthropy on behalf of firefighters across Queens.

Wally Poon was thanked by members of the FDNY and the FDNY Foundation Thursday for his generous donations estimated to be around $250,000.

Poon emigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in 1983 and he started Way Fong LLC in Maspeth in 1992. Now in its 31st year, Poon’s company specializes in wholesale food distribution.

FDNY Chief of Operations John Esposito was among the brass who saluted Poon at the FDNY Fire Zone on July 13, at the FDNY Foundation headquarters at Brooklyn’s MetroTech.

“Your donations over the years have helped to provide training and fitness equipment in our firehouses and EMS stations, including fire safety outreach in the communities we serve,” Esposito said. “We are so grateful to you. We thank you for providing funding, which allows us to provide 20 firehouses with forcible entry training doors, forcible entry training door simulators. A forcible entry training door simulator is one of the most sought-after training tools by our firefighters.”

Firefighters train on these forceful entry doors daily to hone their skills in gaining access to an apartment, home or business in emergencies when time is of the essence.

“The forcible entry doors are really impressive, the firefighters have to open the doors in a short amount of time,” Poon said. “I think in a situation like this, you have to fight for every second, and this piece of equipment is important for a firefighter to exercise on.”

Poon began his philanthropy with donations to Engine Company 286 in Ridgewood and Engine Company 288 in Maspeth. He is currently assisting Engine Company 319 in Middle Village and Engine Company 285 in Ozone Park with funding to upgrade those firehouses as well as training equipment for EMS Station 45 in Woodside and EMS Station 46 in Elmhurst.

“I have great respect for public service, especially the fire department and the police department. I saw during the pandemic that the FDNY was working so hard, and I wanted to find out how to help them,” Poon said. “With Eric Lee, my counsel, I was able to connect with the FDNY Foundation. I wanted to start in the community, so we began with Engine 288 and Engine 286. I am going to continue to do this as long as I can. I would like to see if other businesses like ours can help support our community and the Department.”

The FDNY Foundation is a nonprofit that was established in 1981 to help “The Bravest” better protect New Yorkers and promote fire and life safety education.

“The mission of the FDNY Foundation is only realized through funds that are raised from companies and individuals who love the FDNY and want to support the work that the brave men and women of the FDNY do,” FDNY Foundation Vice Chairman Matthew DiLiberto said. “On behalf of the FDNY Foundation, today, we wanted to acknowledge the tremendous partnership we have with Wally and Alice Poon and all at Way Fong who have given so generously.”

The Poons were joined by family members from as far away as Hong Kong for the event.

“My children have come from Hong Kong and Seattle. I want to give them the inspiration to get involved in their communities,” Poon said. “You know, we make our living here and when we do well we have to give back. It’s something I want them to learn from the old man.”

The FDNY Foundation hopes that other business owners follow the Poon example.

“We thank you for the incredible support of our firehouses and in our EMS stations, especially in the Queens community, where you and your business have been for decades,” DiLiberto said. “Your contributions have meant so much, and we hope that more businesses like yours follow suit to assist the FDNY members in their life saving work that they do every day.”

Poon said he would continue to support FDNY firefighter, EMS and paramedics

“They don’t just work for the paycheck; they inspire me with their bravery and sacrifice,” Poon said. “We will support the fire department and will continue to do so.”