235 Carson City elementary students receive coats

Carson City Fire Capt. Jason Danen helps 7-year-old Joshua Flores try on his new jacket during the 2015 Coats for Kids campaign.

Carson City Fire Capt. Jason Danen helps 7-year-old Joshua Flores try on his new jacket during the 2015 Coats for Kids campaign.

Dropping temperatures and a cold wind settled in Carson City Wednesday morning, so the timing couldn’t have been better for 235 Carson elementary school students to receive free winter coats.

As a part of Operation Warm, the Carson City Firefighters Association and Carson City Fire Department raised money to donate winter coats to 235 elementary kids, from kindergarten to fifth-grade. The firefighters distributed the coats to the Carson City elementary schools Wednesday morning, starting with a kick off event at Fritsch Elementary. Two fire engines and dozens of volunteers stood outside the school, waiting for the kids to line up so they could try on coats and find the right match.

“It feels good to be out here and do a bit extra to help these kids in the transition program and to help our community,” said Brad Mihelic, Carson City firefighters and member of the association’s board of directors.

The two organizations raised more than $7,000 to buy coats for the students in the McKinney-Vento Students in Transition program. Nearly two dozen students from Fritsch lined up to choose and receive a brand new coat in a host of bright colors.

“It feels good (to get my coat),” said 9-year-old Destany. Destany received a blue coat, and she said she picked it out because blue is her favorite color. “I was excited.”

Some of the programs top donors were Capitol Ford, J&S Embroidery and Carson Medical Group, which raised $2,500 for the program.

“We have had great support from the community and businesses in Carson City,” Mihelic said. “There were dozens of people that showed their support with donating and coming to the elementary school to pass out the coats.”

This is the second year the organization has put on Operation Warm, and all the coats are USA union-made said Jason Danen, of the Carson City Firefighters Association. Each coat was $33, which Danen said was expensive, but worth it to get good quality, American made products.

“All the money raised in Carson City is staying in Carson City and it is all going to the program,” Danen said.

Miss Carson City Briana Neben and Mayor Robert Crowell also were in attendance to help pass out the coats. As the kids stood in line to receive their coats, many of them were shivering from the cold, many wearing just T-shirts and jeans, making it abundantly clear why this program is important.

“You just don’t know the value of a coat until it is cold outside,” Crowell said.

After Fritsch, the firefighters delivered the coats to every elementary school in Carson City.

Operation Warm and the Carson City Firefighters Association collect funds year-round. Donations are being accepted now for the 2016 coat fundraiser. Monthly recurring donations may also be made at www.operationwarm.org/carsoncity. Donations are tax deductible.


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