Murphysboro’s Humane Firemen
The firemen of Murphysboro, Ill., are evidently made of humane material. Here is what they did on Christmas, according to a local newspaper:
When Chester Williams, mascot at the fire department, went to the woods Sunday and brought home two little Christmas trees, the boys started something. Or, rather, he started it when he took one of the tree to the city hall Sunday night, set it up inside the fire station and hung four apples on the tree. It was the mascot’s present for the four horses. Monday morning Otto Rathgeber took a look at the tree and sent around a lot of toys to hang on the tree. The idea of giving a few presents to a few of the poor kids caused several other business men to send articles, and by evening the little tree was too small. The thing grew rapidly and by Wednesday evening the room across the street, to which the Santa Claus business had been moved, was filled with food, toys, clothing, etc., ladies from the different charitable organizations, assisted by the firemen, were busy, and 318 people were supplied with some Christmas cheer. Baskets of food were sent to 28 additional families. It is remarkable how big the affair grew in three days. Some of the families relieved were in circumstances hard to realize without visiting the home. One family of six, living in a box car, had no food, practically no clothing, no anticipation of a happy Christmas. The father was sick. Besides receiving food, clothing was supplied for all of the children—also toys for each. Wednesday evening’s crowd cleaned out the supply of food, but there were toys, candy, oranges, nuts and bananas left. Before daylight Thursday morning a little woman sought Chief Herring at the city hall and in hesitating way asked: “If there were any toys left will you please give some little toy for each of my five children so I can get them home before the children wake up?” Mot only did she get tintoys, but when those little ones awoke they found that old Santa also brought candy, nuts and oranges. There were a few cases of people butting in who had no right to deprive some needy person of the things they carried away, but the short time in which the affair was arranged is responsible for that. When one considers the great number of really needy people who were supplied with Christmas cheer, the few butt-ins can be forgotten. A handkerchief with a small amount of money tied in one corner was found on the sidewalk near Twelfth and Walnut. The owner can have it by applying to Chief Herring. The hankerchief evidently belonged to a child. Already it is planned to start early next year and have a whale of a Christmas tree for the needy poor of the city. In addition to the above, the local lodge of Elks, as is their custom, sent out baskets of goods to a large number of poor people. The Elks work quietly each year and the people they assist never know about it until a basket is delivered at their homes the day before Christmas.