By Brandi Makuski
The Public Safety Red Kettle Challenge brought in $12,000 on Dec. 10.
Local law enforcement and firefighting agencies participate in the challenge each year. The effort raises money for local families in need, but also solidifies the friendly, ongoing challenge between law enforcement and firefighters.
The Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office came out on top this year, bringing in $5,694.81 for the Salvation Army. The Stevens Point Fire Dept. came in second, raising $2,359.27. Next up is the Plover Fire Dept. with $1,749.50. The Stevens Point Police Dept. raised $1,227.53, and Plover police raised $913.92.
The Red Kettle campaign raises roughly one-third of the annual operating budget for the Hope Center, which assists individuals and families in need.
Bell-ringing continues at local stores through Dec. 24. This year’s goal is $150,000.
When asked for a comment, Sheriff Mike Lukas called the win “sweet revenge”, referring to the firefighters’ undefeated run against law enforcement, following this year’s third annual charity Guns N’ Hoses softball game.
“Every time I see [Stevens Point Fire Chief Bob] Finn, he asks, ‘You wanna see the trophy?’,” Lukas joked on Friday. “They may be able to play softball, but we can sure get donations.”
Lukas said the biggest factor in reaching was the promoting the event on the popular Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.