Donations Needed For Volunteer Fire Departments

After nearly two straight weeks of wildfire blazes in Texoma and across the state, things are starting to calm down somewhat, but firefighters all over could still use your help.  Because they receive no city funding, volunteer fire departments do what they can to raise money on their own.  But dinners and other fundraisers can only go so far.

"There's 12 department in Clay County and every one of them is just stretched right now to the point that, ya know, we need donations.  Any amount will help," said Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Heaton.

Donations have been coming in.  Heaton says people have brought sandwiches and spaghetti to those dousing the flames.  The Bowman fire department says people came up to them during the worst of the fires and offered pizza and buckets of chicken during their hours of toil.  But there are other things that get overlooked.

"Chapstick, gum, eye drops, and those types of things.  Things people don't really realize that the firefighters need," Linda Leavister, Emergency Services Director with the local Red Cross.

One Red Cross representative says she saw a firefighter cry last week because he was so excited to get a pack of gum handed to him.  The gum can help soothe throats after smoke irritation.  Salty snacks also help with dehydration.

"Having been a fire fighter at one time, I used to appreciate all the stuff when they'd bring it to me," Leavister said.

The Red Cross now has plenty of those specific items.  Even if you don't have means to donate items to the firefighters, Chief Heaton says there's at least one, simple thing you can do.

"If the community would, every time they see a firefighter, thank him.  That would do more than anything else," he said.