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Annual Fill The Boot Drive Tops $22,000
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Jennifer Cannon, who works for the Firefighters Burn Institute and is also a volunteer with Escalon Fire, dumps money from turnout boots into a collection bucket on Saturday. The two-day Fill The Boot drive raised over $22,000. Marg Jackson/The Times

With a limited number of volunteers – but plenty of willing donors – the Escalon Fire Department’s Fill The Boot drive netted over $22,000 this past weekend.

Coordinator Jennifer Cannon said she was extremely pleased with the effort, both from volunteers who collected the donations and the motorists who provided them.

Firefighters, in their turnout gear and armed with boots in which to collect the donations, were stationed at the main intersection of Escalon-Bellota Road-Highway 120-McHenry Avenue for several hours on both Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29.

“Sunday seemed to be a bit lighter in traffic,” Cannon noted of the weekend flow. “But my people were working hard.”

The total collection amounted to $22,450 and the money is donated to the Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento for a variety of fire prevention programs, burn victim survivor services, educational outreach and more.

Cannon, who works for the Institute, also volunteers with the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District. At the Institute, she serves as the Youth Firesetter Program Manager, working with youngsters who have gotten in trouble for starting fires.

The annual Fill The Boot drive seeks donations from motorists as they drive through the community. Those that donate are given a flier to place on their dashboard so they aren’t asked again if they drive back through the area on the weekend.

Cannon said she was hoping to reach the $20,000 mark and was excited to go well beyond that.

Seven department volunteers worked the highway intersection over the two days, including Moe Silva, Veronica Moreno, Ron Gur, Jacob Tiejen, Clay Ruddy, Fabricio Gallo and Cannon.

“I think it was just the generosity of the people passing through,” Cannon said of topping out at more than $22,000. “They were just willing to donate.”