KERN COUNTY - Folks all around Kern County opened their hearts and wallets and donated a grand total of $125,000 for the families of the 19 hotshots killed in Prescott, Arizona.
The Kern County firefighters who organized the fundraisers said they never expected to raise that much, as they made their final deposit at the Chase Bank downtown on Monday.
"I've never made a deposit this big," said Kern County Fire Public Information Officer, Corey Wilford.
He and other firefighters, hotshots, and U.S. Forest Service members happily delivered bags full of your donations. The last $60,000 took tellers just over two hours to count.
"They lost their incomes, family members, their ways of life have been completely turned upside down. The simplest thing we can do right now is just monetary donation," said Wilford.
Last Wednesday, firefighters, led by Engineer Matt Imbelloni, hoped to raise $10,000. They raised nearly $65,000.
"I mean $10,000, we thought would be a really good fundraiser. It would help. Just every little bit we could give to the families, but this is so far above and beyond where we are at," said Wilford.
Over the weekend, fire crews washed cars in Bakersfield and filled boots in Tehachapi, raising another $60,000.
Similar fundraisers elsewhere have raised money too. A Phoenix print company, selling commemorative t-shirts, made $50,000 for the families. Firefighters in South Lake Tahoe filled their boots with just over $12,000. And, Scottsdale fire crews collected more than $44,000, that will be matched by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
To that, add in 125,000 shows of support and heart from this place we should be proud to call home.
"I mean this is way more than what people make in a yearly salary around this area, and to see this all come together like this, it just says a lot for the community," said Wilford.
The Prescott Fire Department said it hasn't counted all of the donations yet and many are still coming in. But, "Wow" was the word they used when they heard how much Kern County raised.