Arundel firefighters pass the boot for a good cause

$16,000 raised for victims of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

November 04, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County firefighters stand near intersections with banners every fall to remind people to check the batteries in their smoke detectors when they turn their clocks back. But this year, they also passed around boots to collect money for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Firefighters knew right away that people were giving a lot as they watched people roll down their windows and pull out $10 and $20 bills. But they had no idea until they counted the money last week that they had collected almost $16,000 in two days late last month.

"That kind of generosity isn't something you take for granted," said Division Chief John M. Scholz.

One Edgewater woman saw the firefighters at Route 2 and West Street in Annapolis, pulled over to the side of the road and handed firefighters a $1,000 check she wrote on the spot.

When Scholz called to thank her, the woman - who asked not to be identified - said she had been saving for bedroom furniture, but decided to give the money to the Sept. 11 fund instead.

"She said she'd rather show her gratitude for the bravery of firefighters who gave their all," Scholz said. "She hoped her generosity would inspire others."

The woman could have mailed her donation directly to one of the relief funds. But, Scholz said, "She wanted to give it to the firefighters who protected her community so she could show how much she appreciated them, too."

In Arnold, people were rolling down their windows and pulling out cash faster than firefighters standing at Arnold Road and Ritchie Highway could collect it. Some motorists pulled over to the side of the road or pulled into a nearby parking lot, said firefighter William McDonald.

Firefighters passed out brochures thanking people for their donations and explaining why it's important to check the smoke detectors in their homes.

But firefighter Dan Woolston got so caught up in the giving, McDonald said, he bought a basket of apples from Kiwanis Club members selling them nearby and starting passing them out to people who gave money.

Although some county firefighters helped with rescue and relief efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks, Scholz said the fund raising was a way that more firefighters could get involved.

"Everyone wanted to help," he said.

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