UPDATE: How you can help firefighters
As firefighters work to contain and control the fire across the region, many people are wondering what they can do to help.
UPDATE: As wildfires burn nearly every county in the Channel 3 viewing area, the support and appreciation from surrounding communities is growing as well.
Donations from all over Hamilton County have been pouring for firefighters, and Saturday was no different.
Scenic City Serves, a non-profit organization that helps those in need, kicked off a donation drive in Soddy Daisy, where many people helped fill several trailers with water, food, sanitary products, etc.
Something organizer Donny Davidson, said he was proud to be a part of.
"I just appreciate their effort. You know, I know a lot of us we go to bed at night, we wake up in the morning check the news to see what's going on with the fires, but we don't realize they have spent all night working," Davidson said. "You know a lot of those guys are not going home."
But this isn't the first time Davidson and his crew helped out.
"We did our first drive last weekend. It was a lot smaller. The firefighters kind of ran through all of that pretty quickly, so we just started following more posts and we organized this drive," Davidson said.
People in the Soddy Daisy area dropped off donations non-stop. Some of them tell Channel 3, they want to help any way they can.
"It's very important to us that we make a collective effort to get the fires put out and keep everybody safe," Martin Bohannon, a Soddy Daisy resident said.
The donations were later dropped off at Walden's Ridge Emergency Services/Volunteer Fire Department. An overwhelming effort, firefighters said they appreciate.
"It's really hard to talk about it and not cry. We've just been completely overwhelmed with the support from our community. So many people are coming together to help not just our fire department but all the departments, and it just means so much," said volunteer firefighter, Vanessa Guin.
The department started receiving donations Friday, that filled the living quarters and kitchen. In order to make room for Saturday's donations, firefighters had to move their fire trucks out the bay.
"We have enough water to probably fill a lot of fire hydrants," Guin said. "We're not sure how quick we're gonna go through it. There isn't a substantial amount of rain coming at all. We've already been out on a few brush fires and we anticipate there's gonna be more, so we'll go through it, but not quickly."
Looking back on a day's work, Davidson said he is proud of his community's effort in helping those who protect it.
"We'll take care of them. I think there's enough good people in Soddy Daisy and the Hixson are...and in Chattanooga as a whole, we'll keep supporting them until it's finished."
Saturday's donations will be distributed to firefighters throughout Hamilton County.
PREVIOUS STORY: Volunteer firefighters said they have accepted hundreds of bottles of water and Gatorade for field crews battling the wildfires. They all agree the large amount of donations is a great problem to have.
“Their faces light up and they say It is like Christmas! We are just overwhelmed,” said volunteer firefighter Vanessa Guin.
Donations aren't trickling into the Walden’s Ridge Fire Hall, they're pouring in. One by one, neighbors drop off donations, hoping to bring comfort to firefighters. “This is what community is all about, the Signal Mountain community really stepped up and we are so thankful.”
Jonathan Johnson rode his motorcycle up the mountain from Chattanooga to drop off supplies. He understands the long hours being away from home. “They are husbands, and sons, and daddies and everything else. It's different, I used to be a firefighter, I understand that side of it,” said Johnson.
He is one of many, looking to help and show support to the men and women working around the clock. “I am very proud to be a Chattanoogan. When Chattanooga has a crisis they come together and unite as one. The one thing I love about Chattanooga.”
At a nearby staging area for the forestry team a sign notifies the public that they have enough water and snacks. Crews appreciate the support, but wants everyone to remain safe. They ask the community to drop off donations at the sheriff's office or fire departments. “Try and limit traffic through here for safety concerns, for the public and for firefighters. We want to maintain the ability to get in and out,” said Public Information Officer Tim Phelps with the Tennessee Forestry Division.
On a day celebrated for veterans and their service to our country, this veteran said it’s all about giving back. No matter what kind of uniform one might wear. “No matter what kind of uniform you wear, whether it is blue, or white like the Fire Captain was wearing, or green like I did in the military, it takes heart and comes from here,” said Johnson.
If you want to donate there will be a donation drive Saturday from 10-noon. Scenic City Serves is collecting donations at Dallas Bay Food City or the Soddy Daisy Walmart.
PREVIOUS STORY: As firefighters work to contain and control the fire across the region, many people are wondering what they can do to help.
Many times, the firefighters working to keep homes safe are local volunteer firefighters. Those battling the fire on the ground, from the air and creating fire breaks typically work for the states' forestry divisions.
Not driving close to the fires or command centers is perhaps one of the most helpful things that you can do for the firefighters.
But they are in need of some items that you can drop off Saturday.
Items needed are:
- Protein bars
- Individually-wrapped beef jerky
- Individual packages of peanuts
- Packages of hand warmers
- Individual-sized hand sanitizer
- Individual bags of chips
- Individual Spark, Propel, Gatorade drink mixes
- Gatorade energy chews
- Bottled water
- Energy drinks
- Sugar/sugar substitutes
- Coffee stirrer sticks
- Coffee cups
- Plastic forks, knives, spoons
- Paper towels
- Baby wipes
Scenic City Services says that donations will be delivered to firefighters as right after the donation time ends Saturday.