Rogers County Man Wrangles Up Gatorade Donations For Firemen

Thursday, August 2nd 2012, 6:16 pm
By: Craig Day

The brutally hot and dry conditions are putting firefighters across Oklahoma to the test.

More Oklahomans are stepping up to help make a difference for the brave men and women braving the heat.

With 26 days of 100-plus degree weather and still counting, firefighters across Oklahoma put to the test, Mark Bethel couldn't help but watch and worry -- especially during such a relentlessly hot summer.

"[It's] one of the worst ones I've seen in a long time," Bethel said.

He is an example of how Oklahomans can make a difference.

With such an intense fire season, he started calling friends and business associates to collect money to help firefighters in Rogers County.

One of those donors is John Walke with Walke Brothers Meat Company.

"[Firefighters] don't have a choice. They got to get out and do it, like it or not, but they do it, and we all respect them for that," Walke said.

In just a few hours, Bethel has raised more than $2,000 from generous donors, who also recognize how important it is to support firefighters, especially now.

"Every time something happens in Oklahoma, you see people stepping up to the plate."

"Anything that anybody can do for them is a plus," Walke said.

Bethel saw news reports of others in Oklahoma who've donated Gatorade and drinks to firefighters, so the money will be used to do just that in Rogers County.

"Going to store it at the Claremore Fire Department and let all of the surrounding fire departments come by and pick up what they need," Bethel said.

Any additional proceeds will be used to cover other needs.

Bethel hopes the Sooner spirit of support spreads faster than the dangerous fires that all everyone, especially firefighters, dread.

"I'd like to challenge everybody in Rogers County and as far as that [goes], everybody in the state of Oklahoma, to step and help out their local firefighters," Bethel said.

The Claremore Walmart has ordered extra supplies and will provide them to Bethel at a discounted price to help stretch those dollars given by volunteers.