By Shawn Carroll
The second phase of local firefighters’ Guardian Angel program was put into place Tuesday morning, with dozens of pairs of new shoes delivered to local schools for students who need them.
“You’re all our kids and we’re big on taking care of Holtville kids,” Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva told a large group of them assembled in the Finley Elementary School auditorium earlier this week.
The Holtville Firefighters Association implemented its Guardian Angel program a couple of years ago with the goal of making Christmas a little bit better for many low income children in the city.
Firefighters started the last holiday season with the goal of raising $2,000 in donations for Christmas and another $1,000 for new shoes. Holtville came through big though, and more than $7,000 was donated. A big part of that money came from the Holtville Rotary Club. Silva presented his plan to local Rotarians at a meeting in late November and was met with a response that was more than enthusiastic. Club members decided to match the other donations received, making Christmas a whole lot happier for lots of kids.
Verde 4-H Club also assisted with the Christmas part. The original goal of helping ten kids was expanded to include 26 from Finley, Pine School and Holtville Middle School, and club members helped with wrapping the many gifts.
After Christmas, $1,600 was available to purchase the new shoes and firefighters bought more than two dozen of the most common sizes. Some that weren’t in stock will be ordered, and it is hoped that a supply can be kept on hand at each of the three schools so they are available if needed.
While the formal presentation of the shoes was made at the assembly, the shoes will actually be given to children privately as the need is noticed by staff at the different schools.