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Firefighters raise $9K in boot drive

WINDER -- Barrow County firefighters raised nearly $10,000 recently through a boot drive that supports two noble causes.

Firefighters, boots in hand, posted themselves at intersections throughout Barrow for a three-day boot drive in early November, culling $9,742 in donations. Beneficiaries of the funding will be the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Barrow County Children After the Fire, officials said.

"In these tough times, we greatly appreciate all the support," said Barrow County Emergency Services Lt. Ernest Weant, the drive's coordinator.

Unlike the "Give Burns the Boot" campaign put on by firefighters earlier this year, donated monies will directly help an untold number of Barrow residents, Weant said.

The local program, Children After the Fire, assists kids injured in fires or who have lost loved ones after a traumatic event. Children are offered free traumatic stress counseling through police and fire agencies throughout Barrow.

And the Muscular Dystrophy Association relies heavily on contributions from private donors in its quest to cure ALS, muscular dystrophy and related diseases, Weant said.

"This total will go a long way in helping (both causes)," he said.

Proceeds from the earlier boot drive were channeled to the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. Ten percent of that funding is earmarked to come back to Barrow County.

In other news, the latest graduating class of the Barrow County Community Emergency Response Team were honored as graduates by the Winder City Council on Nov. 10.

Each member of the class of 15 received a completion certificate.

"This class was the largest we've had so far," said Bob Richardson, Barrow CERT president. "It's been great having such a positive response from the community."

CERT training teaches regular residents preparation tactics in the face of disasters, both natural and manmade. The next class is tentatively scheduled to begin in February, Richardson said.

For more information, call course director Janet Jeanes at 770-868-7270 or e-mail jjeanes@windstream.net.