Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services recently wrapped up a week-long “virtual boot drive” after raising over $1,000 for the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation.
Under normal circumstances, the firefighters hold a boot drive out in the community, with each crew spending about five hours collecting donations. But with the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the boot drive this year required thinking outside the box.
Jason Dooley, Operations Chief for Dawson County Emergency Services, first reached out to the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation in May to ask about the possibility of hosting a virtual boot drive. The drive was officially set to begin on Monday, June 15 and lasted through Sunday, June 21.
“It required a completely different approach than usual,” Dooley said. “The crews were required to create a 30 second video to be posted on social media to try and garner donations.”
Each of the two shifts filmed and posted creative videos encouraging citizens to donate to their cause, and according to Dooley this led to some friendly competition between the different crews.
“The positive aspect was inter-shift competition,” Dooley said. “The shifts competed for both amount of money donated and also for most video views. B-Shift earned the most donations while A-Shift’s video got the most views.”
Citizens followed the links on social media to give online, and there were also a few cash donations dropped off at the fire stations for a total of $1,019 raised during the drive.
The virtual boot drive was not without its challenges, with the total being less than the average of $6,000 normally raised during in-person boot drives.
“I think the biggest challenges were the apprehension of online giving and the lack of exposure,” Dooley said. “Some people are afraid to give online. Also, not everyone follows us on social media so there is a lot less visibility online than there is on street intersections.”
But even with the results coming in lower than past boot drives, Dawson County raised the most money for the Burn Foundation of all fire departments in Georgia.
“We would just like to thank the community for their continued support,” Dooley said. “Even in this trying economic time they still stepped up to the plate to help a great cause, the Georgia Firefighter’s Burn Foundation.”For those who missed the virtual boot drive and would still like to donate to the Burn Foundation in the Dawson County Fire Department’s name, visit https://fundraise.gfbf.org/team/290476 and click “donate”.