Beaumont firefighters give CPS 108 coats for kids

Galen Key, president of IAFF Local 399; Jeff Nesom, VP; and Travis Melancon

This is the third year that the Beaumont Fire Department has partnered with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for Southeast Texas’ Operation Warm community coat program.

Beaumont Fire Union IAFF Local 399 fundraised for 108 coats for children in Jefferson County, according to Shari Pulliam, media specialist for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The firefighters delivered the coats to Pulliam on Dec. 15 after a press conference in the Edison Plaza lobby.

“We have a great relationship with the community, and we’d like to give back every chance we get,” said Galen Key, president of IAFF Local 399.

Children must have an active CPS case to be eligible for the program, Pulliam explained, which includes both children in foster care and children still living with their parents. Children in local temporary housing like Boys’ Haven and Girls’ Haven are also eligible, according to Pulliam. Caseworkers place children who are in need on the list.

“We know there’s a lot more than 108 kids in foster care in Jefferson County, but we do what we can,” Key said. “We thought it was a good idea because people always need help. You have places like the food bank that provide food, but very few other places provide the warmth and comfort that people need.”

The Beaumont Fire Union IAFF Local 399 learned about Operation Warm through its international association, social media and word of mouth at conferences, according to Key.

“I think we began [the program] the same time Conroe did,” he said.

Operation Warm is part of a national program and is “not a coat drive,” according to its website. Operation Warm produces its own line of coats by collaborating with manufacturers for children in need both overseas and within the United States, and children can choose a style and color. For more information, visit www.operationwarm.org.

The Beaumont Fire Union IAFF Local 399 also participates in the Fill the Boot fundraiser for muscular dystrophy every May. 

“We collect the most money in the county every year,” Key said.

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