Fire department raises money for Christmas gifts

By Cecilia Fox -

WEST MILTON — Tomorrow, the West Milton Fire Department is hosting their annual car wash fundraiser, which raises money for the John Schultz Christmas Fund.

The department will be out from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the firehouse.

The fund allows the department to buy Christmas gifts for children every year in honor of late West Milton firefighter John Schultz.

Schultz, who passed away in 2012, bought Christmas gifts for children whose families couldn’t afford it, fellow firefighter Dusty Lavy said. His friends and family found out about this habit at his funeral, when several people stood up to share their memories of him.

“His wife never knew that he’d done that,” Lavy said. “We were pretty moved, so we decided to start up a Christmas fund to help other kids in need in future years.”

The now annual fundraiser is a way of a honoring Schultz’s memory and giving back to the community, Lavy added.

“He had a big heart and he loved kids. And so we felt that we should keep that alive and keep things going in his honor,” he said.

Most of the department and their families participate in the event, which raised about $3,000 last year and helped more than 30 children in the community.

“We raised a lot of money last year which in turn helped a lot of local families during the holiday season,” Fire Captain Ben Herron said.

Before the holiday, the firefighters go out in the community in their fire engines and deliver the gifts to those families, he added.

The school district helps identify families in need of a little extra holiday cheer, Lavy said. As some families’ financial situations have improved, they have volunteered to remove themselves from the list so that others can be added.

The department also accepts donations throughout the year — at their other events, including the summer waffle sales, or dropped off at the West Milton municipal building.

By Cecilia Fox

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