By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
The firefighters, paramedics and police officers who risk their lives in Baker and Union counties will parade through Baker City Wednesday to honor their counterparts who gave their lives on the East Coast.
The Baker City Fire Department is inviting all emergency workers from both counties to the event, scheduled for 6 p.m.
I dont know what the head count will be, but everyone is invited, said Gary Timm, a Baker City firefighter who coordinates fire prevention and community programs for the department.
Timm said the events genesis was the fill the boot campaign, which is cropping up across the state.
Fire departments are using firefighters heavy rubber boots as symbolic collection receptacles for donations to the relief efforts in New York City.
But Baker City decided to do more, Timm said.
The fire department has invited officers from the Oregon State Police, both counties sheriffs offices and all city police departments; firefighters from all departments, including rurals, and state and federal agencies such as the Forest Service, BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry; and emergency medical technicians.
Participants will gather Wednesday at the fire department, at the corner of Second and Place streets.
From there the caravan of people, fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles will travel on Second Street to Auburn Avenue, east to Main Street, north to Washington Avenue, then west to Second Street and back to the station, Timm said.
The Baker Elks Lodge has donated its huge American flag, which will be hand-carried by about 20 people, he said.
Timm hopes hundreds of residents will line Main Street to honor their local workers, to remember those who fell last week, and to celebrate the sense of American unity that has engulfed the country over the past two weeks.
We want the community to keep their chin up, to waive their flags, Timm said. This is going to be so many things to so many people.
Donation boots will be distributed along the way; they are also set up at nearly two dozen local businesses, said Chad Tramp of the Baker City Fire Department.
We just keep getting more and more support, Tramp said this morning. Its getting huge.
Wednesdays event also will promote National Fire Prevention Week, which is the second week of October.
Timm said that although he expects the mood of the marchers will be somber, the parade has no particular theme, and he encourages participants to demonstrate their patriotism.
This thing only works if the citizens come out, he said. Its not for us, its for the community.
Boots are available at the following offices and businesses:
Baker City Fire Department, Baker City Hall, Baker County Sheriffs Office, Baker Middle School.
All Baker City banks and credit unions.
Safeway, Albertsons, Dandamp;B Supply, Rite Aid, Wilsons Market, Lew Brothers Les Schwab Tires, Barley Browns Brew Pub, Thatchers Ace Hardware, Lumbermens.