Feel Good Friday: Thank You for Supporting Our Local Firefighters!

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Thanks to your donations to the Sleepy Hollow Fire Relief Fund, volunteer recruits Kelsey Schuttie, Mariam Ridgwell, and Stephanie Preheim received new gear as they prepare for careers in firefighting.

By Jennifer Dolge, Director of Donor Services and Communications

One of the best parts of my job is going on the road with my camera, driving to places near and far, to capture the impact of a grant funded by the Community Foundation of NCW. Today was no exception.

With the windows rolled down and the fall breeze clearing out the summer of my Subaru, I headed to the Malaga Fire Station to get a look at the new “bunker gear” purchased by the Chelan County Fire District 1.

Earlier this summer, I received a call from Glen Widener, CCFD1 Deputy Chief, asking if we knew of any way they could get some help in purchasing new gear. With all of the wildfires over the last few years, especially Sleep Hollow, the CCFD1 received an influx of interest in volunteer firefighting.

These new volunteers were women and men who would need new gear of all sizes. The Fire District had reached out to other agencies and were able to purchase a fair amount of gear at a reasonable cost, but were unable to get any gear that came in smaller sizes.

That’s when they turned to the Community Foundation. Through the Sleepy Hollow Fire Relief Fund, the foundation helped the CCFD1 purchase four new sets of bunker gear in the sizes they needed.

When I arrived at the fire station, three strong female recruits came out to greet me, then started putting on their gear – and suddenly I wished I had my 11 year old daughter with me.

I’d tell her that she could be whatever she wanted when she grew up. That people in this community cared so much about each other, they gave money to help friends and even strangers. That it takes working together and helping each other to keep our town and our neighborhoods safe.

I could have made the recruits pose on a ladder, or asked them to do an action shot– “pretend you’re putting out a fire!” – to really get the “impact”. But the real impact isn’t pretend. The real impact is demonstrating the dedication and service of our firefighters, and knowing that our communities are safer as they selflessly protect our valley, our land, our people.

To our firefighters, volunteers, and first responders: we thank you for your dedication and service. To the generous people who supported the Sleepy Hollow Fire Relief Fund, we thank you for paying it forward and helping to protect your community!

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