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Shopping carts chock full of generosity

by F.T. Norton
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

It only took one hour for 18 firefighters to spend $6,000 on Christmas gifts at Wal-Mart on Monday.

But the generosity of the Carson City Firefighters Association could touch more than 400 children in Carson, Storey and Douglas counties when families in need take part in the Salvation Army’s Toys for Joys program Thursday.

“This is really going to make a dent,” said Salvation Army Capt. Erica Helton. “This generosity is beyond what we’ve seen so far this season.”

Association president and fire Capt. Bob Schreihans said that this year, because of the tough economic climate, the union group spent $2,000 more than they had in years past.

“When times are hard, the firemen step up to support their community,” Schreihans said.

The firefighters descended upon the Market Street Wal-Mart about 9 a.m. Each of them took a shopping cart and packed it with items, some from a list provided by Helton.

There were bicycle helmets, board games, scooters and books. They bought digital music players, remote-control helicopters and Easy Bake Ovens.

And the Carson City Wal-Mart, as it has every year, waived the sales tax.

In the end, the men exceeded their budget by just $5.

Then in the snow, looking like a bucket brigade, they loaded up the Salvation Army van.

“We’re helping out,” said Schreihans of their accomplishment, a 6-foot-long receipt in his hand. “That’s our normal job ” to help people.”

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.