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Lifesavers Honor First Responders
Thursday, September 9, 2021


The Lifesavers remind them of the many times they have been one. The Tootsie Rolls encourage them to  roll with the punches. And the Andes Crème de Menthes are designed to help them keep their cool in every situation.

These are among the candies that Blaine County Republican Women are gifting Blaine County’s first responders with this week as a way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9-11.

Nine women gathered at The Community Library this week to decorate and fill basket of sweet goodies to take to more than 300 full-time, part-time and volunteer policemen, firemen and other first responders as far south as the Carey Rural Fire District and its adjacent BLM Fire Station.

“It’s so rewarding to give back to people that are out there every day doing things,” said Polly Weaver. “It’s a nice surprise for them when they get a basket full of goodies, and it’s fun for us to do--it always puts a smile on my face. We live in a special place so it’s wonderful to show our appreciation for people who might not get that extra pat on the back.”

The women spent an hour and a half laughing as candy fell off the table and they did deep dives to find the ribbon and gift wrap on the floor.

They filled the baskets with Paydays, recognizing that first responders don’t do what they do for the money; gum designed to help units stick together, Snickers to remind them to hold onto their sense of humor and Almond Joy Mounds for the mounds of courage they show every day.

Then they topped all the candy off with Hershey Kisses to show their love for all the first responders do.

“It’s so much fun to put the baskets together,” said Maggi Ferris. “Polly has amazing organizing skills and lets us know when we can test the candy.”

Blaine County Republican Women started the Basket Brigade program this year to acknowledge community members on six different holidays. They take baskets to the American Legion on Veteran’s Day and honor doctors and nurses at Thanksgiving and postal workers at Christmas. They remember seniors on Fourth of July and residents of Siler Creek Assisted Living Center in Hailey on Valentine’s Day.

The Blaine County Republican Women also participate in a number of other projects as part of their Caring for America programs, said Maria Gerhardt.

For instance, they stage a highway cleanup in spring and fall along a two-mile section of Highway 75 near the Hailey airport. They have helped Higher Ground provide 900 meals during the past six years for their summer and winter adaptive programs, which help veterans who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and other injuries. The club also volunteers for Higher Ground’s fundraising gala each summer.

“The highway cleanup is always fun when we have a big group and compare the craziest finds,” said Ferris. “And to be able to give a little something back to our amazing men and women veterans is a wonderful feeling. We are so privileged to be given the opportunity.”




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