Local firefighters raise $26,000 for burn victims | TheUnion.com

Local firefighters raise $26,000 for burn victims

Firefighters who routinely suit up in layers of heavy protective gear to save lives did something different Saturday – they took off their boots to raise money for burn victims.

Firefighters raised nearly $26,000 in Nevada County’s fourth annual “fill the boot” drive.

The week-long fund-raiser is held in Northern California during National Burn Awareness Week, with proceeds going to the Firefighters Burn Institute, which is based in Sacramento but used regionwide.

For six hours Saturday, firefighters were stationed at nine places around the county.

“We used our own boots,” Battalion Chief Tom Browning said. “If we got a call, we (would have) had to put them back on and go.”

The burn institute helps victims through the recovery process and also sponsors research efforts. One program that has earned the institute a national reputation is its week-long summer camp in South Lake Tahoe for young burn victims.

It’s an opportunity for the kids to interact with others who look like them without being self-conscious, burn institute events manager Judy Quiban said.

She said the regional fund-raiser last year brought in $260,000 to the institute.

This year, Nevada County raised $6,000 more than last year, and it was truly a community effort, Browning said. The largest donation was $150, and there were $9,800 collected in one-dollar bills.

Battalion Chief Spike Newby said people in Nevada County always come through in times of need.

“The people really care and are always willing to help,” Newby said.

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