STATE CAPITOL, TEXAS, April 20, 2017 — Following last month’s wildfires in parts of West Texas and the Panhandle, AT&T is contributing $20,000 to the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas (SFFMA) and setting up a text-to-donate campaign to support the volunteer firefighter units who battled these recent fires. The wildfires, which spread quickly from West Texas to the Panhandle, resulted in the deaths of 4 and nearly 500,000 acres burned.
The text-to-donate campaign will raise funds for volunteer units across the State supporting many rural communities that tirelessly battle fires in West Texas and beyond. SFFMA serves Texas fire and emergency service responders, supporting more than 1,200 fire departments and 22,000 individual members.
“Many of our volunteer fire departments are operating under tight budgets and limited resources,” said Chris Barron, SFFMA executive director. “When all is said and done we forget that both the departments and the firefighters who have donated their time and energy struggle to recover financially after taking on fires like the ones we recently saw in the Panhandle. Initiatives like this text-to-donate campaign provide much needed support for these brave men and women.”
AT&T’s contribution to the campaign will be used to aid the first responders with equipment like protective clothing, safety goggles and wildland helmets. Funds will also be used for repairs to fire trucks, fuel for emergency vehicles and repairs to broken nozzles and tools. These resources will assist in ongoing efforts to combat wildfires throughout wildfire season and help ensure the safety of firefighters.
State Senator Kel Seliger, former Mayor of Amarillo, recognized AT&T and SFFMA for their efforts to support these local heroes who spent days battling the sprawling fires to save the lives, homes and land surrounding Amarillo and other neighboring counties.
“The West Texas and Panhandle wildfires remind us of the everyday heroes who bravely step up to these dangerous situations to protect our communities,” Seliger said. “I would like to thank AT&T and the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas for their support in helping those who risk their lives to protect us.”
State Representative Ken King and State Representative Drew Springer were also in attendance and encouraged Texans to show their support.
“This campaign offers Texans an easy way to thank these incredible men and women who sacrifice so much for our communities,” said Representative Ken King. “We need to make it our responsibility to ensure that our first responders have the proper resources and funding to perform their duties safely and effectively.”
“Our volunteer firefighters spend too much of their valuable time fundraising to cover basic expenses” said Representative Springer. “By picking up the phone and showing your support, together we can all help remove some of those financial burdens allowing them to focus on keeping themselves and our communities safe.”
AT&T presented their contribution and launched the text-to-donate campaign on Tuesday, April 20 at the State Capitol. Wireless customers who wish to provide financial support SFFMA and their members can text RELIEF to 80077 to donate $10 to the SFFMA. Donations sent via text are added to a customer’s monthly wireless bill.
“We are proud to support the SFFMA and our local heroes across the state,” said Leslie Ward, Vice President, Legislative and External Affairs, AT&T-Texas. “Most importantly, we want to thank the men and women who dedicate their time and lives as volunteer firefighters to keep our communities safe.”
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.
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