By sponsoring the rodeo, the GCFD will give $125 to one child per firefighter to be spent at Wal-Mart however they please, to make up for the presents they will not receive at Christmas time.
Partnering with the Southern Rodeo Company, the GCFD has taken up putting on a rodeo as their major fundraiser for the year and are hoping to raise over $9,000 by Christmas 2012, but the rodeo is only one of the fundraisers the GCFD has hosted to raise money for this cause.
“Our goal from the start, and we have been going since December raising money, is for each one of our firefighters, and there are approximately 70-75 career and volunteer firefighters to have at least $125 to carry each kid shopping,” said GCFD firefighter medic Marshall Greene who was put in charge of the whole operation.
Greene, a former winner of the Calhoun Rodeo in the bareback competition brought the idea for the program from his previous fire station in Summerville, where he enjoyed giving back to the children by letting them shop.
Currently, the department has approximately $2,000 in the bank, but hopes the rodeo will bring them to their ultimate goal.
According to Greene, partnering with the Southern Rodeo Company, will allow the fundraiser to benefit from the gate entry fees, to the concessions, and “will be just clean, family fun.”
This is the first time the Calhoun Rodeo has been sponsored by the GCFD, and taking the Gordon County children shopping at Christmas time will be the first time the GCFD.
The fundraisers have been a success so far, according to Greene, who credits the entire community including small and large local businesses assisting the GCFD in putting this event into motion for the kids.
Children will be selected on a nomination basis by teachers within the Calhoun and Gordon County Schools to participate. The children will be dropped off at the station by their parents, then loaded onto a school bus and driven to the Calhoun Wal-Mart.
Each child will be accompanied by a Gordon County Firefighter and chaperoned around Wal-Mart, and given the opportunity to spend $125 however they please.
According to Greene, the children will be treated to breakfast and lunch at Wal-Mart.
Next the children will be bused to The Home Depot in Calhoun to see Santa Clause and take photos with him, explained Greene.
The chidlren will then be taken back to the firestation where their toys will be waiting for them.
Firefighters have volunteered their pickup trucks to carry the purchased toys back to the station for the children.
" For me to be involved, number one with a friend of mine, Robin Brookes and a group of guys at the fire department, for these kids, it is almost personal, and we have poured our heart and soul out to it, we really want to make it a success, we are already planning next year," said Greene.
The Calhoun Rodeo gates will open at 6 p.m. Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children, and ages 5 and under are free.
For more information contact the GCFD at 706-629-7741.