PICKENS COUNTY — On Saturday Nov. 4, 2017, fire departments from across the Upstate took part in the annual, “Boot Drive” raising money to support the Southeastern Firefighter Burn Foundation’s, Jeff Chavis House.
Firefighters from Central, Crosswell, Easley, Liberty, Norris, Six Mile and the Vineyards Fire Departments manned various intersections across Pickens County receiving donations via a Structural Firefighter Boot.
In addition to manning intersections to receive donations, departments like the Vineyards and Pumpkintown Fire Departments raised money from their members and individual community members.
“I’m happy to report, thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses alike, firefighters from across Pickens County raised $21,626.00,” said Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack.
The Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation is responsible for the Jefferey Varden Chavis (Jeff Chavis) House which provides free lodging to families of burn victims while being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, at Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta, Ga.
According to the Foundation’s website, over the past decade, the Chavis House has been home to approximately 1,000 guests per year.
It is a 40-bed guesthouse, with a kitchen and laundry facilities that ensures families can be part of the care and recovery of their loved ones. Each day, volunteers from area churches bring a meal for guests to enjoy.
The house itself is named in memory of Jeff Chavis who began his firefighting career as an 18-year old volunteer for the Round Hill Fire Department in Lexington, SC.
On July 12, 2001, Jeff lost his life as a result of burns he suffered in the line of duty while fighting a residential fire. The Chavis family led the effort to renovate the guest facility and continue to be active volunteers for Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation.
In 2013 the Chavis House experienced a $135,000 renovation with new flooring, paint and furniture.
“It truly feels like a home-away-from-home,” the said.
“Firefighters are always there to help others and the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation is there to help firefighters when we are injured from a fire,” said Womack.
Firefighters from across Pickens County manned intersections and store fronts for most of the day on Saturday while people dropped coins, cash and checks in the fire boots.
“In many ways, the community stepped up to help those (firefighters) who help the community,” Womack said. “I do not have the words to express how thankful I am for the community’s generosity.”
For more information on the Southeastern Firefighter Burn Foundation’s, Jeff Chavis House, go to www.burnshurtwehelp.org/ChavisHouse or on social media.