By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Volunteer firefighters from stations throughout the Moapa Valley snapped into action last week to help one of their own. The three local fire stations quickly pulled together and coordinated a fundraiser car wash to help the Fox family of Overton.
On Wednesday, July 18, the Fox family was involved in a serious auto accident on Interstate 15. The accident claimed the life of volunteer firefighter Dani Fox and her three year old son, Zachary. Dani’s husband Cody, also a volunteer firefighter, and two other sons received injuries in the accident.
By Thursday evening, members from all three local fire stations were meeting together in Overton to try and find ways that they could help the family.
“The whole (Moapa Valley) Fire District is just devastated by this,” said Logandale volunteer Gail DeCaria who was in attendance at the meeting. “We are, by nature, people who want to jump in and fix things and make them better. We realized in this case, there really wasn’t much we could do to fix things. But we were eager to be able to do something to help the family.”
With less than a day’s lead time, the firefighters organized a major community fundraising event. The management team at Lin’s Market agreed to allow a car wash to be held in the store’s parking lot. So the firefighters planned the carwash for Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Then they went to work getting the word out to the community. Through posters, emails, phone calls, text messaging and social media the firefighters let the community know about the event.
The word got out and the community responded. On Friday night, cars lined up at Lin’s to receive car washes and to donate cash to the cause. The lineup of cars continued steadily throughout the evening. Then, on Saturday morning, when the fundraiser resumed, the cars and the cash just kept coming in; continuing through about 12:30 p.m..
“We were very happy with the number of local people who came out to support us in this,” said Logandale station Assistant Chief Mike Otero. “A lot of people brought cars that were not even dirty. Other people brought three or four cars and some people just walked up and handed us money.”
In addition, the firefighters had a lot of walk-on help from community members in actually washing the cars.
“A lot of people just showed up and wanted to help us,” said Overton station Chief Matt Nelson. “A lot of them were just kids in the community. Some of them were family members of firefighters. But many of them were not even associated with us. They just wanted to help.”
Among these youth was Mike Otero’s daughter Malissa. Saturday happened to be her eighteenth birthday. Otero said that the family had gotten up early that morning to do a little celebration of her birthday. Then she had decided that she would come with her folks down to Overton and spend the day helping at the car wash.
“She spent five hours on her birthday helping out this local family in need,” Otero said. “It was completely her choice.”
Several local businesses also jumped in to provide resources to the firefighters. In addition to providing the parking lot, Lin’s also donated food and drinks to the volunteers. Overton McDonalds, Sugar’s Restaurant and Inside Scoop also provided assistance at various times during the fundraiser. And there was much more additional community assistance than anyone can list, Nelson said.
“We really just got things started and everybody sort of helped out where help was needed,” Nelson said. “One family just showed up on Friday afternoon and handed out popsicles to everyone that was helping us. I don’t even know who they were.”
“It is just like that anytime something happens in this community,” Nelson added. “Everybody jumps in eager to help and you don’t always know who all is doing it or what all they have done. But they do it anyway. That is what makes it so nice to live in this community.”
Moapa Fire District board member Judy Metz said that she was proud of how well the firefighters from the various stations had worked together in this effort.
“As usual, this group came together when the chips were down to help this family that is a part of their family,” Metz said. “I’ve never been to a car wash that was so well organized. Everyone was just happy to be there and happy to be able to help.”
By the end of the fundraiser, the firefighters had raised more than $8,000 all to benefit the Fox family.
“We appreciate the members of this community for their support on this,” said Nelson. “People were more than generous.”
An account has been set up at America First Credit Union in the name of Cody Fox Memorial for community members to make additional donations.