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One good deed ...

Firefighters appreciate the generosity of local residents who donate their time and supplies

STEWART STATE PARK ' Firefighter Billy Clay said he's never seen anything like the generosity of Rogue Valley residents.

They gave us clothes, new underwear, Bibles, candies and knickknacks, said the Salem resident.

I would die saving this town, because look at this, said Clay, holding up an armload of new clothes as he headed for the fire camp shower.

Clay, who has been fighting the 24,700-acre Timbered Rock fire in the Elk Creek drainage for five days, came straight from fighting a fire in Paisley. He said his supplies had run out.

I haven't seen home in three weeks, he said.

From food donated by Shady Cove restaurants to Thanks firefighters signs painted on plywood, dozens of local residents are showing their gratitude to the 1,200 firefighters protecting their homes.

Debbie and Clyde Hicks have been delivering a truckload of supplies ranging from ice cream to socks and toothpaste to the fire camp at Stewart State Park for several days. They've been using the radio station KDOV as a drop-off for people to donate supplies.

Debbie said that after firefighters worked to save their home in last year's Quartz fire, she wanted to give something back.

We just know they appreciate it, she said, estimating that they've donated thousands of socks. It's not like the state doesn't provide, but if they go from fire to fire, they don't get to shop.

Their delivery of donations isn't stopping in the Upper Rogue region.

Tomorrow we're heading to the Florence and the Sour Biscuit (fires), she said Friday.

Oregon Department of Forestry officials say that firefighters usually arrive at a fire camp prepared.

They should have a week's worth of clothing, said Mike Barsotti, ODF public information officer.

The longer the fire, the more you need, and eventually your toiletries are going to run out, he said.

Public Information Officer David Morman said the gesture impacts the crews in more ways than one.

Just the morale boost, he said, someone giving you a figurative pat on the back feels good.

He said that he knows that in emergencies, people are always looking for ways they can help, and that crews are in good shape.

Every citizen in Oregon who's a taxpayer is already a supporter, so we need to thank them, said Morman.


Firefighter Billy Clay of Salem heads off the the showers at the Stewart State Park fire camp with his gifts of socks and underwear. Firefighters say they appreciate the outpouring of community support. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell