Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue officials recently donated money from fundraising activities to burn-related charities.
At a June ceremony, department officials distributed nearly $50,000 to the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation and the Marty Lyons Foundation.
"These firefighters, they really went out and beyond to stand in the hot sun all day long and do this boot drive," department Chief Doug Cooper said. "We know that it is going to benefit charities that operate right here in this area."
Firefighters spent two weekends outside area retail establishments collecting for the department's annual Charity Boot Drive. The department raised $54,210 between the boot drive and the department's second annual MDA Golf Classic on May 12 at Jones Creek Golf Club.
The proceeds normally go directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, to which the department donated $6,000, in addition to $72,000 the department raised during an MDA Lock-Up fundraiser.
Cooper said the department chose to spread the money to other charities this year.
Caring for victims and their families of the recent explosion at a sugar refinery in Savannah, Ga., has depleted resources of the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, Cooper said.
Dawn Violette, the development director for the foundation, said a recent expansion of the Chavous House lodging facility near the Joseph M. Still Burn Center allows the foundation to help more burn victims and families.
"Now we can serve 50 people per night in that lodging facility," Violette said. "With the Savannah sugar refinery explosion, we've been doing a lot of that. So this will help out tremendously.
"Thank you, obviously, to all the firefighters who worked hard and were out there on the pavement collecting the money."
The department also presented a $10,000 check to Don Williams, the firefighters outreach liaison for the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. Williams said the funds will help continue the camp the foundation provides for burned children.
"When you see those children there and the joy that they see at camp and are able to experience with being with each other, it is remarkable," Williams said. "It is touching to see the support from the firefighters."
Philip Lyons, the president of the Georgia chapter of the Marty Lyons Foundation, accepted a $8,210 donation to the foundation.
The foundation arranges special wishes to come true for children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Lyons said the donation will help make wishes become reality for 12 children.
"Firefighters are the most amazing people I know," Lyons told Cooper and a room of firefighters at the ceremony.
"These funds that you give us today, I can guarantee you that we will reuse them to do what you do everyday. You change people's lives. These funds will help us change the lives of not only the wish children, but also their families."
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