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Holiday Travelers Help Fill The Boot
Farmington volunteer firefighter Jeff Briggs smiles as he lets young John DAnna, 2, of Millbrae try on his helmet for size. The youngster and his dad were at the nearby Circle K and walked over to the Fill the Boot collection area on Friday to make a donation. Marg Jackson/The Times

Collecting more than an average of $6,400 per day, members of the Farmington Fire Department will be sending off more than $25,700 to the Firefighters Burn Institute for their 2015 Fill the Boo campaign.

Staged at the intersection of Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road over the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, the collection began Friday, Feb. 13 at noon and ran through Monday, Feb. 16. Hours for the collection this year were reduced, with fewer volunteers available to staff the intersection, but it still ran daily from noon to about 6 p.m.

After all the paper money, checks and coins were tallied and taken to the bank, Fire Chief Conni Bailey said it was another good year.

“Our total came to $25,747.31 so we will send a check for $25,750 to the Burn Institute,” said Bailey.

The department typically makes a contribution to ‘round up’ the dollar amount, with donations to the burn institute in Sacramento going to help pay for special programs and services for burn victims, survivors and their families.

The weather cooperated the entire weekend, and starting with a noon collection instead of the normal morning time didn’t adversely impact the total. Bailey said they always like to hit the $20,000 mark and this year they were able to go well above that goal.

Firefighters did have to respond to a call on Saturday morning, but it was before the collection started, as they were sent to a two-vehicle accident along Mariposa Road, a half-mile west of Sola Road. Heavy fog in the area contributed to the accident, with a van reportedly attempting a U-turn in the roadway being struck by an oncoming vehicle. Both vehicles were damaged but authorities reported only minor injuries in the crash about 7 a.m. Saturday.

Farmington volunteer firefighters taking shifts working the intersection, armed with their turnout boots to collect the donations, included Bill Smith, Mike DeMartini, John Kalebaugh, Jeff Briggs, Everardo Mosqueda, Matt Bailey, Nancy Humphrey, Miro Banov, Chris Lemos, Chase Keener, Ricky Yater, Colin Keener and Chief Bailey inside the station, keeping busy tabulating the donations.

“We also had some Thornton firefighters come over to help on the weekend,” the chief noted. “And this year, we had a board member, Ed Bracco and his wife Betty that volunteered to come help out.”

Bailey said she is always amazed at how much people give to support the effort. The intersection is a prime travel route to the mountains and with good weather over the long holiday weekend, there were plenty of motorists making their way out for some fun, who first donated to a good cause.

After donating, they received a flyer to put on their windshield so firefighters would know they had already donated if they came back through the intersection again.

The Firefighters Burn Institute, according to information on the flyer, was established as a local burn treatment facility. It also provides recovery programs for burn survivors and promotes fire and burn prevention through public educational programs. More information is available by calling 916-739-8525 or visiting