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Calling cards the ticket for homesick firefighters

Lynn Burton
Staff Writer

Area residents have been donating cookies, haircuts and massages to firefighters working the Spring Creek and Coal Seam fires, but here’s something the firefighters can really phone home about.

Long distance calling cards.

New Castle residents Jim and Kay Reed teamed with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent to buy $310 in long distance calling cards to distribute to firefighters last week.

“We encourage other locals residents and businesses to join this effort,” said Glenwood Springs Post Independent Publisher Valerie Smith. “There seems to be a real need for these calling cards. We’d love to see people hop on board.”

Reed said the calling card project started when he was talking to fire incident commander Joe Hartman at the fire camp at Riverside School in New Castle.

Reed asked what he could donate to the cause, and Hartman told him they had plenty of Gatorade, books, magazines and other supplies.

“He said the firefighters could really use calling cards, so they can call home,” Reed said.

After talking with Hartman, Reed went to Sam’s Club in Grand Junction and bought 8,400 worth of minutes in long distance phone calls.

If you don’t want to do the math, that comes out to 24 minutes for each of the 350 firefighters working the Spring Creek Fire.

The Post Independent picked up half the $310 tab for the calling cards.

The newspaper is also helping make life a little better for firefighters by distributing newspapers to the fire camps at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus and at Riverside School.

“These guys work from six in the morning to 10 at night, and they don’t get much information from the outside world,” said Ron DeGeus, the paper’s circulation manager.

DeGeus said he even gave bundles of newspapers to helicopter pilots to deliver to firefighters staying at remote spike camps on the Flat Tops.

“We sent them every morning for the duration of the camp,” DeGeus said.


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