Southern Oregon residents write, collect Thank You letters, donations for firefighters
Jackson/Josephine Counties, Ore. - "It says 'thank you,'" Irie Eager, a 7-year-old girl who wrote a letter to Miller Complex fires, said. "Then, the inside it says, 'thank you for fighting the fires, [from] Irie.' and there's all kinds of stickers."
Eager never wrote a Thank You note for firefighters until this fire season.
"The firefighters have been fighting for us like our whole entire lives," Eager exclaimed graciously.
Hers is the first of many Thank You notes to be delivered to Rogue Credit Union. Any branch of the financial institution will collect and deliver Thank You notes and other donations. Rogue Credit Union will also match all monetary donations up to $5000.
"This fire season is incredibly bad," Matt Stephenson, executive vice president of Rogue Credit Union, said. "Obviously, all of us are affected whether it's by poor air quality in the smoke or some folks in our region being displaced or even losing homes."
Dozens of letters continued to come through the front door of Rogue Credit Union Tuesday morning - all written by children. Holy Smoke, the name of the Thank You letter campaign, organizers hope adults get involved as well.
The letters will get delivered in each firefighters' lunch. If you would rather donate items, just ask Marni Brown. Brown can be reached through her Facebook group, 'Williams locals.' Brown has delivered donations to the Miller Complex fire crews three times, including poison oak medicine, chocolate and painted rocks.
"Gotta love the rocks because [firefighters] can take them home," Brown said. "They use a bottle of calamine lotion in a day and it's gone. The rocks? They remember Oregon cared."
Whether it's Thank You notes, post cards calamine lotion or painted rocks, the firefighters have come from across the country to control Oregon's fires. Many in the area say they deserve the gratitude.
"We've had fires every year, unfortunately, so whenever there's a cause or need for the firefighters, we're in there," Ginny Stegemiller, who helped paint rocks and deliver donations, said.