Brad Nelson knows social media and as the Funny River Horse Trail wildfire spread, his name became synonymous with frequent, rapid updates spreading on Facebook.
During the two-week period when the fire was most active near communities on the central Kenai Peninsula, the Borough Health and Safety Officer’s reputation became the impetus for a series of T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Keep Calm and Wait for an Update from Brad Nelson.” Proceeds from the sale of those T-shirts were presented on Monday to Central Emergency Services.
The Kenai-based commercial radio station, KSRM, designed the shirt, which was sold for charity through GAMAS Designs in Soldotna.
The limited run of the T-shirt is over and former GAMAS manager Daniell Stynsberg presented Brad Nelson and Dan Nelson, board president for Emergency Services Inc., with a check for $2,500.
At $13 dollars donated for each shirt, GAMAS sold 189 of the Funny River wildfire tees.
“I was surprised by the first-day volume,” she said. “That first day, the phone would not stop ringing. We have two lines and people were still leaving messages.”
Most people called to support the firefighting efforts, she said.
The company shipped at least six boxes out of state to places like Washington and Minnesota, she said.
Dan Nelson said Emergency Services Inc., would take the money and spend it on several of the charitable events hosted by Central Emergency Services throughout the year, including the Christmas-time “Shop with a Firefighter” program. In addition, ESI funds meals for firefighters on the front lines of fires, awards and firefighter retirement celebrations.
“ESI covers all that as opposed to taxpayer dollars,” Dan Nelson said.
CES will also donate $1,000 to the Wildland Firefighters Memorial Foundation and $500 to the American Red Cross, he said.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.