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Three-Day ‘Boot’ Drive Raises $22K For Institute
Volunteer firefighter/EMT Sofia Martinez smiles as she approaches a vehicle stopped in the intersection, the driver ready to make a donation to the Fill the Boot drive in Farmington over the weekend. Sunday was the busiest day, with over $8000 collected that day alone. Marg Jackson/The Times

It’s a heavily traveled route – especially on the weekends – and Farmington firefighters were able to raise a substantial amount of money because of it.

Hosting the annual ‘Fill the Boot’ drive from Friday, Feb. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 9, the three-day collection raised some $22,000 for the Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento.

Fire Chief Conni Bailey said motorists were, by and large, cordial to firefighters seeking donations, stationed at the four corners of Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road throughout the weekend. The collection ran for several hours each day, with money counted on a daily basis and then prepared for sending off to the institute.

The Sacramento facility provides programs and services for burn victims and survivors.

The three-day effort started off well, with plenty of traffic on Friday. Motorists passing through the intersection were provided with a flyer to place on their dashboard once they contributed, so they weren’t asked again the next time they came through.

“The best day was Sunday,” Bailey reported. “We brought in over $8000 that day.”

Firefighters taking part in the collection effort were Chief Bailey, Assistant Chief Matt Bailey, Captains John Kalebaugh and Jeff Briggs, along with Luis Estrada, Francisco Gonzalez, Ricky Yater, Everardo Mosqueda, Barry Hickerson and Sofia Martinez.

“This is my first time to do Fill the Boot,” said Martinez, a firefighter/EMT for the volunteer department. “It’s awesome; it has been really fun and there are a lot of local people coming through that want to help.”

Back for another year, helping inside the firehouse with the counting of the donations, was Sydney Briggs, 15, daughter of Captain Jeff Briggs.

The teen has assisted in various capacities through the years, from taking boots back and forth to the firefighters collecting the donations to helping with food and more.

“Now she’s counting the money and she’s doing a really good job,” Chief Bailey said, smiling.

Briggs said she enjoyed the counting and finding the occasional $100 bill along with the more traditional $5 and $20 bills.

“Her whole family does community service; her older sisters went to Haiti to teach and all of the girls have helped out here,” Bailey said.

Overall, the chief said this year’s boot drive was well received by motorists and also was a success financially, with the department excited to send off the check to the Firefighters Burn Institute.

Helping count the cash was Sydney Briggs, 15, who has assisted with the annual Fill the Boot drive at the Farmington Fire Department over the past few years. Her father, Jeff, is a captain with the volunteer department. Marg Jackson/The Times