Fundraiser for injured firefighter tops $100,000
When organizers put out the call about a fundraiser for 29-year-old injured AFD firefighter Ben Schultz, they were initially hoping to raise at least $20,000. When they started seeing all the people showing up at Elite Sports Performance on Friday they thought it might be more than that. But no one really expected the event to bring in more than $100,000 — with money still coming in.
“Our family is just floored and ecstatic,” Ben’s father Jeff Schultz told KTVA. “We are just thanking God that the community has come out in such great droves to help our family out. “It’s just beautiful. My wife likes to call it collateral beauty and that’s what it is.”
Ben Schultz continues to recover in a Colorado hospital from an training accident in Anchorage in June. He was found on the ground behind truck five, a 100-foot aerial ladder apparatus, according to AFD. About a week ago, Ben’s family reported that he said his first words since the incident. He said “hi” twice when asked, along with “mom” and “dad.” On Sunday, Jeff Schultz told KTVA that Ben has been “talking up a storm” lately.
Anchorage Fire Department Captain Jason Dolph says Elite Sports Performance came to them and said they would like to hold the fundraiser with AFD. The Friday fundraiser included live music, silent and live auctions, burgers and hot dogs and a beer and wine garden. Captain Dolph says the event itself collected around $104,000 and that people continue to donate.
Live on KTVA’s First Take Sunday evening, Captain Dolph thanked individuals, businesses and groups that helped pitch in.
“The men and woman of the Anchorage Fire Department respond to 911 calls every single day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year… and one of our own needed help,” Dolph said. “And we sent out the 911 call and this community responded in such a humbling and amazing way.”
Captain Dolph says the money will be used to pay for uncovered medical and travel expenses Ben’s family may face, along with anything related to his injuries and recovery.