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Wildland Firefighter Auction Benefits Foundation

Josh Willis

OAKHURST — Wildland firefighter Josh Willis loves puppies, pizza, naps, and hikes. How do we know? The Wildland Firefighter Foundation’s local auction page told us so.

Originally from Long Beach, Josh is just starting his firefighting career here in the Sierra — and you can welcome him and other goodhearted guys and gals with a good strong bid, as the Wildland Fighter Foundation invites the community to an equal-opportunity event that’s all about supporting our local men and women on the lines.

The bravest in the Sierra will be up for bid at the Wildland Firefighter Auction at Yosemite Gateway Restaurant on Saturday, Feb. 24 — a first for our area. There’s a no-host bar open starting at 6:30 p.m. and the auction starts at 7:30 p.m. Winning bidders will be given a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant for their outing at a later date, to be mutually determined.

This event is brought to you by the same people who organize the Wildland Firefighter Hootenanny fundraiser, and will benefit the same causes. The organization’s main focus is to help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families.

“The Firefighter’s Auction will be a fun night to kick off the Hootenanay season and raise money for the Foundation,” says volunteer Erin Capuchino, adding that some items including baskets will be available for raffle. All major credit cards will be accepted on site — it’s a 21-and-over event.

Persons being auctioned can be a wildland firefighter with any agency including state, federal, contractor, county and city. According to Erin, there’s still time to come on board. The committee is looking for men or women that are not shy, are ready to strut their stuff for a good cause, and willing to agree to a code of honor.

Morgan Kemple, for instance, is part owner in a dozer and water tender company, notes the auction committee. “Although she doesn’t go out on the lines she is an asset to the company because of her extensive business experience,” and she’s willing to help the cause.

“There is a huge competitveness in the world of wildland firefighters,” Erin notes. “Bragging rights to bring in the most money for this event could be awesome.”

New to the line-up are Natasha Fouts Noble, Travis Dean and Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, who is not a firefighter himself — but definitely wants to register his support.

“Come raise your glasses while firefighters are shaking their…” attitudes, say organizers. DJ Brandon will be spinning for this high-energy evening.

Yosemite Gateway Restaurant is located at 40530 Highway 41.

For more information, to attend or participate, contact organizers through the event page (above) or contact the Wildland Firefighter Foundation directly.



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