The event organizers also hope to say ‘thank you’ to those who helped stop the fires on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Multiple homes and structures were threatened during the March 24 fire but none were destroyed thanks to the help of multiple fire departments and aerial support. Callaway Fire Chief Dan Trumbull told KCNI/KBBN approximately 120 acres were burned.
Fire crews from multiple communities stayed on the scene throughout the night and into the next afternoon to monitor hotspots. To honor the 17 hours spent on the scene of the fires, the Walk-A-Thon is scheduled for 17 hours on April 27 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Callaway elementary teacher Wendy Dockweiler spoke with KCNI/KBBN saying her home was one of more than 10 structures threatened by the fires.
“As a family that was involved in it, I thought, ‘How could we let kids know what a rural fire fighter’s life is really like?’ So we decided to use our physical skills and our gift of gratitude to display how their life is like–I mean they just showed up! They stopped everything and so many volunteers in the community also just drove down our driveways, helped packed up houses, helped start sprinkles, passed out shovels and water. So we just wanted to give back to those who have given so much,” Dockweiler said.
Dockweiler said she was home alone but while on a run she saw the smoke and stopped a vehicle to ask for a ride home. From then on, she said it was all hands on deck with community members helping each other.
“I just think it’s a valuable giving-back kind of service in our small communities in Nebraska,” Dockweiler said, adding the importance of teaching this quality to younger generations.
The Walk-A-Thon will be hosted on the Callaway track at 101 N, S Needham Ave, Callaway, NE 68825 (alternate location being the Callaway Community Center) and donations are graciously accepted to the Callaway Volunteer Fire Department.
Call the school 308-836-2272 or click on the sign-up sheet to sign up for a 30-minute walking shift.
Wendy Dockweiler told KCNI/KBBN the elementary kids will walk during their recess and the whole student body will be on the track in the morning. She also said volunteer firefighters will be walking with the students.
Strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome. Dockweiler encourages people from all over Custer County and beyond to join the Walk-A-Thon.
Free food will be available at 11 a.m. while supplies last. Families affected by the fires are donating the food which will include hot dogs, chips, and water. A group of students will be providing snacks.
Wendy thanks the community for helping collaborate and promoting something good. She admires how teachers and event organizers have shared their passions and their ideas to put the Walk-A-Thon together.
“I just hope its a fun and enlightening event for other people to just give back!” Dockweiler said.
KCNI/KBBN Radio will broadcast the Get Up and Go Breakfast Show Live and will be at the Walk-A-Thon throughout the day with speakers and music and live remotes until 6 p.m.