By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (February 11, 2016) – An effort benefitting area volunteer fire departments and led by Facebook page administrators is spreading like wildfire. The bottled water collection drive has gained the support of businesses and individuals across Erath County and beyond its borders.
John Forson maintains the Erath County Breaking News (ECBN) page, sharing reports from local media outlets, information on police, fire and EMS dispatch and photos from across the county. He also allows residents and members of the group to post news and information of their own, including details on lost and found animals and personal property, missing loved ones and more.
From the beginning, Forson has had a single mission of assisting local law enforcement and first responders whenever possible, which is why he dove into the water collection effort without hesitation, appealing to the nearly 21,000 ECBN fans.
“The idea actually started with the Eastland County Breaking News page,” Forson said, crediting page administrator Ken Knowles. “But, I decided this was something I would like to do personally for our volunteer fire departments in Erath County.”
While Forson is quickly receiving recognition for the effort, he is quicker to remind people it’s not about him.
“For our volunteer fighters, it doesn’t matter if it’s hot outside or freezing cold, day or night, they will leave their family and safe zone to help all of us at any time,” he said.” With spring and summer approaching, they will need the supplies, and this is one way we can show our appreciation.”
A county of about 40,000 residents, Erath is home to nine volunteer fire departments, including Erath County Fire Rescue, Bluff Dale, Dublin, Harbin, Huckabay, Lingleville, Morgan Mill, Oakdale and Selden.
Similar drives are simultaneously being held in Hamilton and Eastland counties with the goal of delivering as much bottled water as possible to area fire departments on February 20.
“If all goes well, I would like to do the same thing in Comanche, Hood and Somervell counties,” Forson said, adding that while he focuses most of his time on the Erath County Facebook page, he serves as an administrator of the Hood County Breaking News page and had a role in getting each of the others, except the Glen Rose area page, started.
Forson believes if residents of those counties spend less than $10 to show support, the pantries at local fire departments could easily be stocked.
“I can buy three cases of water at Brookshire Brothers in Dublin for $8,” he said.
As of Thursday, two days after sharing the idea on ECBN, four Dublin businesses and four in Stephenville had agreed to serve as collection locations. Donors can take cases of bottled water – or sports drinks like Gatorade – to Bradberry’s Best Feed Store, Ronnie’s Tire, Golden Age Manor and Brookshire Brothers in Dublin or Gifford TV and Electronics, Haley Dental, Shane Oliver’s Allstate Insurance office or Aaron’s (Sales and Leasing).
“Anyone who would like to donate cases of water can leave them at those locations,” Forson said. “We will pick up those donations on February 20. I also plan to have collection stations setup at other locations that day as well.”
With the effort quickly adding up to be a big one, Forson welcomes anyone who is interested to lend a hand.
“I will need some help organizing, setting up at locations on February 20, and we will need pickups to carry water to the departments.” he said. “This is a work in progress, so I will continue to update the post on the Erath County Breaking News page.”
Forson asks individuals interesting in volunteering to assist in the effort to respond to the related posted on the ECBN page, facebook.com/groups/ErathCountyBreakingNews, or send a message via his personal page, facebook.com/john.forson.5 .