In Montgomery County, Texas, residents are fortunate to live in a part of the country and state where the majority of civilians support law enforcement and respect and appreciate all public servants. Understandably, community concern is currently focused on police officers, following the deadly ambush in Dallas. However, Heather Schooner, a local woman whose life and business are intertwined with first responders, was struck by the words of her young son Saturday morning. With television, radio, and social media saturated with reports of civilians showing their support for law enforcement in various ways, 11-year-old Brayden Schoonover noticed something.
“Everyone forgets about our firemen,” Brayden said.
His mom owns Texan Towing in Cut and Shoot, so Brayden is more aware than most kids his age of how frequently all emergency responders rush to wrecks and other disasters, regardless of the weather, and spend exhausting hours helping strangers.
Heather Schoonover began to think about what he said, and how the heat indexes that have been well over 100 degrees with high humidity. In past years, such conditions have inspired the public’s generosity in donating water, Gatorade, and other items to fire departments, but she had not noticed anyone mentioning helping her local fire department during the current heatwave. Schoonover posted the following on her Facebook page:
“To not forget our firemen, I would like to load my Durango down with as much bottled water, drinks, snacks, and goodies as I can get in there!!! I know my CnS (Cut and Shoot) folks will help me so if you have a couple bucks to spare and can help me load these boys up please feel free to stop by here today and drop off, and me and my boy will deliver to Cut n Shoot Fire Dept. this afternoon.”
The Schoonover family went shopping, and friends who saw the post complied with the request as well. By 6 p.m., Brayden’s observation had resulted in the collection of over 40 cases of water, over five dozen bottles of Gatorade, dozens and dozens of bags of chips, cookies, snack cakes, crackers, popcorn, pretzels, candy, and almost every other kind of pre-packaged snack!
Joined in the delivery effort by Texan Towing employees Brenda Atkinson and Bubba Coburn, and Amber and Jamie Salisbury and all of the group’s children, they filled two pickup trucks, a Dodge Durango, and two passenger cars. They divided the items between the Cut and Shoot Fire Department’s main station beside the police department, and the department’s station in Midway, near N. Walker Rd.
Firefighters greatly appreciated their efforts, which definitely will not go to waste.
Heather Schoonover said she was proud of her son for thinking of firefighters and wanting to help them, and of her friends and employees for stepping up and helping.
Heather Schoonover had no intention of calling media attention to what she and her son orchestrated. She is a personal friend of ours, and I persuaded her to let me write about what they’d done after seeing it posted on her Facebook page.
These extreme summer temperatures are dangerous for people dressed in normal clothing. Fire gear in particular, and also uniforms like those worn by police and EMS multiply that danger and increase the risk they already take each time they respond to an emergency.
We hope this story inspires others to reach out in whatever way they are able to help those who respond when someone needs help.
Thank you, Brayden Schoonover, for reminding us to think of our firefighters!