North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Marysville firefighters give coats to kids


December 20, 2017 | View PDF

Courtesy Photo

Firefighters Keoni Brown, left, Benjamin Williams, center, and captain Mark Cook present Mrs. Wells' Marshall Elementary class with free coats on Dec. 12.

Marysville firefighters completed their third drop off of coats of the year for local elementary students on Dec. 12.

On that day about 40 Marshall Elementary students received brand new winter coats thanks to Marysville Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 3219 (the Marysville Fire District firefighters' union).

Firefighters raise funds throughout the year and work the school district as winter begins each year.

"We find schools that have large numbers of impoverished children that we want to work with the school district on, and we'll either adopt a classroom or a grade, then we size the kids and bring the coats," said Marysville Fire District captain Dean Shelton, who is also secretary/treasurer for Marysville Professional Firefighters.

There are many local students who need new coats, said Shelton.

"We're members of our community and we see the things that impact our community beyond the 911 calls, and one of those things is the families that are struggling," he said.

"There are a great number of kids who don't have coats and, as you know, in Washington it's not always warm and dry," he said.

Firefighters come down to the schools to deliver the coats to the kids themselves.

"To be able to put nice new warm coats on kids hopefully not only makes them successful in school but creates a relationship between the firefighters and the kids so they have someone they can trust," said Shelton.

To provide the coats the local firefighters work with Operation Warm, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on free coats for kids.

Through fundraising they usually put thousands of coats on kids throughout the Puget Sound, said Shelton.

"Clearly, there's more of a demand than we can fundraiser for, but we put as many coats on kids as possible," he said.

In Marysville there has been slightly more than 150 coats this year throughout three distributions.

This October they provided more than 80 coats to students at Liberty Elementary.

"We still may try to put on another coat distribution after the first of the year," said Shelton.

The coats cost about $34 each and Shelton said that the hardest part is working on the fundraising.

"We have partners we'll work with, including the biggest fundraiser which is probably KISW radio station in Seattle," he said.

Courtesy Photo

Marshall Elementary students Trey Nguyen, left, and Brooklynn Bradford wear their coats received from Marysville Fire District firefighters on Dec. 12.

Local firefighters take those funds along with money from other businesses and organizations to purchase the coats for kids.

Shelton said the quality of the coats they buy is good as well. "The coats are fantastic, they got a great style to them," he added.

In addition they are produced in the country. "These are U.S.A. made coats, so we're also creating jobs in this country," he said.

His favorite part of the coat distribution is watching the firefighters meeting the kids.

"We get to interact with the kids in a non-emergency situation and present them with brand new coats," said Shelton.

Local firefighters enjoy helping out community members, he said.

"We're always busy in the community, as baseball coaches or in the schools, and this is another component of what we do on our days off," he said.


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