BOZEMAN - Around 300 people gathered in ‘Hanger 2’ at Bridger Aerospace Thursday Night for a ‘Party Under the Wings’, fundraiser for the Montana Firefighter Fund.
The event featured a silent and live auction, raising more than $350,000. The fund was created to assist families of firefighters, both volunteer and full-time, from hospital bills to groceries, and any other aspect in need.
Randy Okon, former Captain at Missoula Fire Department and current board member for the Montana Firefighter Fund believes that a charity organization, such as this, is vital.
“It’s a calling, it’s an honest, true profession that helps the community out,” Okon said, “Whether they’re career, or volunteer, seasonal or full time, we really want to support those people and those families.”
One firefighter that benefited from this fund, is Red Lodge Firefighter Dan Steffensen, who was severely burned in July.
“I was in the hospital for 65 days—two weeks of that was in a coma—and the bills kept going,” Steffensen said, “We’ve had a tough couple of years in the firefighting business.”
Steffensen notes that this fund is extremely important and will assist the current and future generations of firefighters.
Many members of the board members are from Bridger Aerospace, who hosted the fundraising event, such as Elise Byron.
“We were thinking what we could do to give back and this was it, and this is what we can do,” Byron said, “This is what we wanted to do. We had the means to go out, get the funds, and give them to firefighters and their families.”