HELENA — When you call 9-1-1, Helena firefighters and Lewis and Clark County deputies are some of the people that respond to help. On Thursday and Friday, they were helping the community in a different way, with some friendly competition.
The Helena Fire Department and Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office squared off in a bell ring-off to see who could raise the most money for the Salvation Army.
The firefighters were up first, manning red kettles in front of Van’s Thriftway on Euclid on Thursday.
“It’s overwhelming all the time with what the community does to support each other and the Salvation Army,” Helena Fire Department Lt. Robbie Bennett said. “We’re grateful to be out here and helping out.”
The deputies braved cold weather on Friday to ring bells and raise money in front of Van’s Thrifway.
“We’re here raising money, just like Helena Fire did, for the Salvation Army,” Lewis and Clark County Sheriff-Coroner Leo Dutton said. “The Salvation Army’s money stays in this community—when we have an emergency, when we have a disaster, they’re here to help us out.”
While all the money is going to the same place, there was a competitive spirit, and the Helena Fire Department had a title to uphold.
“We always usually excel above Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office,” Bennett joked.
The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office did not back down in the face of competition.
“You know—bless their hearts—they get to sit around and wait for a fire, we’re answering calls and work work work,” Dutton joked. “It’s a fun, collegial competition, but I’d like to win.”
The Helena Fire Department won this year’s competition by a very slim margin—less than $10. The Helena Fire Department raised $1,054.36 and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office raised $1,047.55. In all, that’s a more than $2,000 going to help the Salvation Army serve people in the Helena area.