From a modest $3,500 the first year of Fill The Boot in 1999 to the $24,000 raised this year, Farmington Fire Department has contributed a total of more than $317,600 to the Firefighters Burn Institute over the years.
Two representatives from the organization stopped by the firehouse in Farmington for a dinner meeting March 18, bringing a plaque and their thanks, while taking back this year’s check from the four-day collection effort.
Farmington hosts Fill The Boot For Burns each year over the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend in February. The highest four-day collection on record for the department was $30,150 in 2008 and Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey said it is one of the events the department loves to do, as they know the money is going to a good cause.
Sacramento Area Fire Fighters Local 522 Director of Membership Services Michael Feyh, one of those that visited the department, was himself a patient at the Firefighters Burn Institute when he was badly burned when a booby trapped home exploded during a firefighting effort in Sacramento in July, 2010.
He related his treatment and told firefighters that the money they have helped raise over the years by collecting donations in their turnout boots has helped numerous burn victims in their struggle to get back to a ‘normal’ life.
Sacramento Metro Fire Battalion Chief Michael Daw also praised their efforts in accepting this year’s contribution.
“You’ve changed the way we heal people,” Daw said.
Feyh said improvements in patient care at the Firefighters Burn Institute are a direct result of donations from Farmington and other departments around the region that host Fill The Boot events.
“If anything ever happens to any of you, we will be there,” Feyh promised. “We’re (Firefighters Burn Institute) a beneficiary of all the hard work you have put in.”
Chief Bailey said there have been some people within the local fire district that have received treatment at the institute, making it that much more personal for the department. She also praised those motorists along Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road that dig deep every year for the cause, donating as they pass through the intersection.
“People continue to amaze me with their generosity,” Bailey said.
The Tuesday night dinner meeting was a ‘thank you’ to those volunteers that staffed the collection this year, with barbecued steak, potatoes, salad, bread and dessert all a part of the menu.