Outreach Launches To Supply VA Firefighters During Arson Spree - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Outreach Launches To Supply VA Firefighters During Arson Spree

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ONLEY, Va. - Volunteer firefighters are exhausted after almost 70 suspected arsons on the Eastern Shore of Virginia since November. That's why an Exmore woman is using social media to rally support for the crews. Karen Barnes is a former volunteer and current EMS provider in Northampton County.

She knows the plight of a firefighter all too well saying,"They're not just out there all night long fighting the fires, when they fight the fires they still need to go home, see their families, they still have to work their everyday 40 hour a week plus jobs."

She put out a plea on her virtual yard sale page on Facebook called Eastern Shore Trash N Treasures. She writes, "With all of us feeling the effects of the arson's in Accomack County I feel like we need to do something to give back to all of those that are spending countless hours days and nights out there to protect us. These men and women are out fighting fires for hours and hours night after night day after day. It does not matter if it is raining, snowing, hot, cold, day, or night these people still go out. After the fires are over when they get back to the stations their work is not done......I am looking for my Eastern Shore Trash N Treasure Family to step up and donate things to help these wonderful people keep going. Things such as Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Creamer, Sweet n Low, Sugar, Coffee Cups, Regular Cups, Water, Gatorade, etc....Please find it in your heart to help these wonderful people keep going. As of now we have Pocomoke Animal Hospital, Contours in Exmore, and Tangled Salon in Exmore as drop offs. I will keep you updated as more come in. Thanks in advance for your donation."

The plea went out on Thursday to almost 9,000 users and by Friday answers and donations were already flying in. Barnes also reached out to Wal-Mart in Onley, Virginia. She says the store quickly jumped on board to donate, and that was just the beginning.

"They called me and said you might want to bring more than just your car and come with a truck, because we have a large amount of stuff. Some of the employees have taken out of their pocket ad have bought more than just the water and Gatorade," says Barnes.

On Friday, she met with the President of the Parksley Volunteer Fire Company, Fred Matthews. She was able to fill the back of his truck with supplies for his crews.

Matthews says, "We don't have a lot of food on our unit. The other night we went to McDonalds and we purchased 100 cheeseburgers at the Whispering Pines fire just to feed the guys because everyone was going to be there so long."

Matthews says the Fire Company sends a rehab unit to almost every scene to keep crews safe during those long hours. "We do full rehab, as far as replenishing the body with drink, coffee, water, whatever is needed, to warm people up, whatever it needs we'll have a crew there to take care of it . . . Some of these scenes, you're there for a long time, you need some food. But most of the time it's basically Gatorade, water and in my and a lot of other cases, coffee."

Wal-Mart is joining businesses like Pocomoke Animal Hospital as a drop-off point for continued donations. They say they will have donation bins set up as long as it is needed.

Matthews says, "This will go a long ways to replenish what we had, and hopefully we don't have to use this stuff, but if we do, we'll be there."

Drop off sites include:
Wal-Mart in Onley
Pocomoke Animal Hospital
Contours in Exmore
Tangled Salon in Exmore
Cycle Creation in New Church
Highway Market in New Church
Arcadia Nursing & Rehab in Gargatha
Quail Run Assisted Living Facility in Nelsonia

If you have any information about the Virginia arsons call 757-655-1437.

Accomack Arsons - Continuing Coverage
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