Volunteer firefighters have spent countless hours and resources trying to keep people and property safe this past week during the wildfires that threatened homes and communities.
Because they've used the equipment so much, two thirds of the county's firefighting gear is damaged and trucks have spent hours in and out of the shop. Some of the youngest community members in Post are pitching in to make a difference and they are doing it one penny at a time.
Post Elementary students are learning a lesson about the meaning of community, one they wouldn't get out of a book.
Respect. Community. Contribute. Persuade. These are some pretty big vocabulary words for second graders in Angie Myer's class at Post Elementary. They got to use them this week.
"It was a teachable moment," said Angie Myer. Her students wanted to talk about the wildfires. Many of them have family members who worked to fight the recent fires.
"The fireman are our friends and our family and we see them everywhere in our community," said Myer.
Myer encouraged her students to write letters to Principal Staci Marts to persuade her to let them raise money at school. It was an idea that Marts thought was wonderful.
"They saved us and we are trying to help them and it is important so they know how much we appreciate them," said Kara Thomas, a 4th grader.
"The whole elementary school and city of Post are helping firefighters," Jonathan Hernandez, a 5th grader said.
"If they don't have equipment, how could they fight fires?" asked 2nd grader Nathan Taylor.
"We want to help. If they run out of equipment, they can't help us," said Thomas.
"It's an honor to have these little guys spend their time raising money," Jason Powell said. Powell is a 8th grade teacher, a volunteer firefighter and a volunteer medic. He says the spirit that the students have makes each page more bearable.
Penny by penny, students got to work, and what started in the second grade has now become a friendly competition between students of all ages in the elementary school.
"It's some serious milk money," said Principal Marts about the money the students are raising.
Students are selling bracelets, making lemonade stands, and even washing cars. Some students have organized pie throwing contests, dunking contests and hat days. For $1, teachers can wear jeans to work, and if you want an Easter egg, you better find a 3rd grader.
Myer said the whole plan has come together and she is so proud of the ideas her students have come up with.
It's a lesson educators know will last a lifetime and make a big difference.
"When someone needs help in this community, people do whatever it takes to make sure things are taken care of," explained Powell.
"I knew all the kids are good. I'm so proud of them," said Principal Marts. She is afraid to set a goal of how much money students hope to raise because she doesn't want to limit them. In one week alone, students have raised $5,000, which includes some donations from members of the community.
Michael Isbell with Garza County Emergency Management Team says $5,000 will go a long way to help fix some of the equipment.
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