Hastings firefighters give winter coats to students in need

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Most of us have already pulled out our winter coats, but not everyone can afford one. Hastings firefighters are making sure all kids in the area have what they need to make it through this Nebraska winter.

Hastings firefighters gave out winter coats to 14 students Monday at Hawthorne Elementary School as part of their Operation Warm drive. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

Hastings Professional Firefighters gave out winter coats to students Monday at Hawthorne Elementary School.

The donation was the culmination of their efforts for the Operation Warm drive. The firefighters collected donations to buy new winter coats for kids whose families needed some extra help this season.

"It's good to see the smile on their faces, walking out of here with a brand new coat . They get to go home warm this afternoon," said Tom Treffer, President of IAFF Local 675.

Close to 15 students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade walked out of school with brand new coats. The firefighters helped them pick out a coat, and zip it up.

Hastings Professional Firefighters reached out to each school in the area, asking if any of their students needed new coats this year. Teachers then nominated kids they thought could use a new one.

"We do have students and parents who are just working hard and trying to have their needs met. We see it often. We are just so thankful that we have community resources who try to meet those needs," said Amy Kelly, principal of Hawthorne Elementary School.

Hawthorne was one of three schools the firefighters gave coats out to Monday. In total, they've distributed about 100 coats this year.

Kelly said the firefighters are great role models to students, and are teaching them the importance of giving.

"That's something we can't teach to kids thorugh a book, but when they have these experiences, it's the best lesson they can learn." Kelly said.

Hastings firefighters have participated in Operation Warm for the past five years. In that time, they've given out 700 coats to kids in need.

Whatever coats they have left this year will be donated to the Salvation Army.

The firefighters are still collection donations for Operation Warm to buy coats for next year. You can donate online.