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One Day Collection Record Kicks Off Successful Drive
Farmington volunteer firefighters Jeff Briggs, left, and Dave Caraveo accept a donation and provide a flyer to motorists heading toward the Highway 4-Escalon-Bellota Road intersection on Saturday, day two of a four-day Fill the Boot drive. Marg Jackson/The Times

When they were forced to postpone their normal Presidents’ Day Weekend collection for Fill The Boot, Farmington firefighters weren’t sure when they would be able to do it. But things fell into place and they were able to use the last weekend of summer – Labor Day Weekend – to stand out at the intersection of Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road with their turnout boots. Coins, paper money and checks dropped in to those turnout boots helps raise money for the Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento. The Institute provides a variety of services for burn victims and also sponsors trips to summer camps for young burn survivors.

Running Friday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 5, the collection spanned four days and started off strong, with a new one-day record total of $11,360 brought in on Friday.

“We were just amazed,” said Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey of the huge amount on day one.

But lower gas prices and good weather for summer’s finale helped keep traffic flowing throughout the weekend, with the intersection staying busy. A goal of $25,000 set for the four-day drive was ultimately surpassed.

“Just finished,” Bailey noted in a text message sent to the paper at just after midnight Monday night/early Tuesday morning. “Tentative (total) is $33,000-plus.”

The final amount will be available within a few days, and all the money – there is no overhead – goes directly to the Firefighters Burn Institute.

Bailey said most motorists didn’t mind the collection, as the money goes to a good cause, and the firefighters approach only when the vehicles are stopped for the four-way stop sign at the intersection. Once a donation is made, the driver receives a flyer to put on his dashboard so they aren’t asked again if they go through the intersection any other time over the weekend.

The collection was done for several hours each day, making the most of the holiday traffic.