By Leeann Akers - Editor
March 6, 2013 — It’s been nearly three months since the last Shop with a Firefighter event with the Grayson fire department but the 2013 event is already in the works.
In 2012, 23 area children were treated to a pizza party and a shopping trip by the GFD but a new fundraising effort will hopefully double that amount for this year.
In years past, the department did a boot drive, collecting donations in their fire boots on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
That, in addition to donations from local businesses and individuals created the opportunity for a merrier Christmas.
This year the department will host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise more money to allow the firefighters to sponsor more kids.
“Whatever we collected during the boot drive, we would divide by 100 and have the number of kids to sponsor,” said Lt. Mike Harper. “This will also be another way to get more people involved.”
The double elimination tournament will be held April 6 at East Carter High School. Each team can have up to five players, but only three can be on the court at a time. The entry fee will be $50 per team.
The Grayson and Hitchins fire departments are currently involved in the program but Harper hopes more will join.
“We have kids from all over the county so we are hoping to have departments from across the county as well,” Harper said. “We want to put all the support in one boot.”
Harper said they usually ask the parents of the children not to let the kids in on the surprise. They come to the firehouse and have a pizza party, then listen to a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible.
“We want them to understand the real reason for the season,” Harper said. “Then, the best part, we get to see their little faces light up when we tell them we are taking them shopping.”
Each child gets $100 to spend on Christmas gifts, a real treat for some families.
“Last year, a man came to us and donated $200,” Harper said. “A few years before his family hit hard times and we were able to give his kids a Christmas. He wanted to pay that forward.”
Harper said although unexpected, the donation made the program even more special, because it showed him it was truly meaningful.
To register for the Grayson Fire Depatment 3-on-3 basketball tournament, visit the website at www.graysonfire.com/3-on-3/.
Only pre-registrations will be accepted and the deadline is March 30. The registration form and $50 fee can be mailed to the Grayson Fire Department 316 East 3rd St., Grayson, KY 41143.
Each participate must complete a waiver form and return it by the day of the tournament. This waiver can be mailed in with the registration form or dropped off the day of the tournament.
Participants under 18 years of age must have their parent or legal guardian sign the form before the minor will be permitted to play.
No player will be allowed to participate in the tournament unless a waiver form is completed and returned.