As first responders, members of the Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department (MSD), Muscatine Fire Department (MFD), and Muscatine Police Department (MPD) share a common goal of assisting area residents in times of need. All proud of their department’s long traditions of excellence, the MSD, MFD, and MPD never pass up a chance for some friendly competition. This year, the three groups faced off for the Salvation Army of Muscatine County’s (SAMC’s) first ever Red Kettle Campaign traveling trophy, helping protect the community in a whole new way.
At the Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff on November 14th, SAMC Lieutenant Greg Bock announced that he had invited the MSD, MFD, and MPD to compete to see who could raise the most money. Along with having kettles in front of their workplaces, each department would take a day to ring at Walmart. The MSD rang on Saturday, December 7th, while the MFD and MPD rang on Friday, December 13th. When the Red Kettle Campaign wraps up at the end of the year, the SAMC will total the amount of money raised by each department and award the traveling trophy (and a year’s worth of bragging rights) to the one that brought in the most donations.
Bock feels this challenge will help invigorate the Red Kettle Campaign and bring in even more donations to support the SAMC’s many programs. Each year, the SAMC provides food to the hungry, after school and summer programming for children, assistance to those working to escape poverty, and so much more. By raising $180,000 through the Red Kettle Campaign, the SAMC will have the resources to fund all these operations and cover their overhead for the year ahead. As an added benefit, having the MSD, MFD, and MPD support the Red Kettle Campaign helps remind county residents of how much these first responders care about the community. Bock explained, “to me, it’s good that they not only care about citizens when they go out on a [call] but they also care that citizens have food on their tables.”
Representatives from each organization shared Bock’s vision of showing the community just how much they care. On his day to ring, Sheriff C. J. Ryan stated, “helping people is part of our mission, so this supports what we do every day.”
The following Friday, members of both the MFD and MPD echoed Ryan’s sentiment. Craig Chelf, a firefighter and paramedic said, “It’s playful banter between the firefighters and police, but it’s for a good charity.” Alex Kindred, MPD Chaplain, added, “It’s always good to be able to give back to a good cause, especially this time of year.”
Though the SAMC will not announce the total amount of money each department raised until after the Red Kettle Campaign finishes, Bock hopes it will prove a substantial amount. As of December 12th, the Red Kettle Campaign had raised $35,642.23, about twenty percent of the $180,000 goal. “They raised a good amount on Saturday, and hopefully on Friday the police and firefighters can raise as much or more,” mused Bock.