GRATEFUL FIREFIGHTERS SAY THANKS
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), a non-profit organization established in l994 to give moral and financial support to injured and fallen Wildland firefighters and families in need, has traditionally relied on firefighters themselves to open their wallets at fire camps and fundraising events in order to take care of their own. But all that changed during Labor Day weekend in La Cañada Flintridge. Two residents whose homes were saved by the U.S. Forest Service firefighters during the recent Station Fire wanted to express their gratitude in a way that would make a substantive difference to those firefighters who had lost their own homes in the same fire.
Dale Ball and Denise Gomez, with the support of The WFF and off duty U.S. Forest Service crews and BLM crews, rounded up friends, family, neighbors, and even the La Cañada High School cheerleaders to help collect donations in firefighter boots at Memorial Park during the long Labor Day weekend while the fires were still threatening homes in the foothills behind them. Dale and Denise did more than putting “Thank you Firefighters” signs in their yards. They rolled up their sleeves and spent their holiday weekend helping Wildland firefighters. Their success far exceeded their wildest expectations. WFF founder and director Vicki Minor, a 2008 CNN Hero, reports that the total from three days of filling the boots in La Cañada was remarkable. The WFF reports that the $30,000 raised was the largest amount ever given by a grateful community. The money went straight toward housing and living expenses for those firefighters whose homes were burned. Additional help was provided for individual Wildland firefighters who suffered injuries from the Station Fire.
The WFF wishes to express its profound gratitude to all the volunteers who made this event a success, as well as to all the citizens and passersby who gave so generously. Vicki invites all volunteers and donors to read her personal thank you note to them on The WFF website: wffoundation.org. The website also features an article written by Dale Ball about the fundraising campaign.
Tia Davis for Vicki Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation