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Boot campaign hits Barrow this month

WINDER -- Barrow County firefighters will hit the streets en masse May 13-15 seeking donations for their 21st annual "Give Burns the Boot" drive.

Cash raised through the drive is channeled to the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, whose mission is to promote burn awareness and prevention. The foundation has awarded more than $154,000 to departments across Georgia the last seven years.

Lt. Ernest Weant, Boot Drive chairman, advises residents to be on alert for firefighters soliciting donations (boots in hand) on Barrow street corners.

"No matter whether it's a large or small donation, every dollar will help," Weant said.

Money goes, in part, to Camp Oo-U-La, the state's only summer camp exclusively for burn-injured children.

The camp is scheduled from June 6-12 at Winder's Fort Yargo State Park, said Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.

Last year, Camp Oo-U-La overtook Fort Yargo's Camp Will-A-Way, marking the first time in 17 years it was held in Barrow or Gwinnett counties.

The camp's peculiar name is borrowed from the Cherokee Indian word meaning cool, running water. It's free to any Georgian age 7 to 17 who's sustained a burn injury that required treatment or hospitalization in a burn unit. Activities are closed to the general public.

More than 80 campers attended last year, Dakin said.

The cost for both campers and volunteers is covered by Foundation, he said.