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Firefighters Top Police in Council Bluffs Drive to Help Boys Town


​​This article is written by Derek Sullivan of the World-Herald News Service. It was posted on on July 3, 2016.

The Council Bluffs Fire Department got bragging rights, the Council Bluffs Police Department got a roll of toilet paper and needy families in western Iowa received more than 2,000 pounds of household goods.

On Friday at Boys Town Iowa, local firefighters and police officers found out who won a monthlong contest between the two groups. Throughout June, the two agencies had drop boxes throughout Council Bluffs asking local residents to donate household goods to the families who work with Boys Town Iowa.

The fire department collected 1,109.5 pounds of household goods, roughly 110 more pounds than the police department.

Officer Jill Knotek, who represented police at the weigh-in, accepted the runner-up trophy, which consisted of a roll of toilet paper on a 6-inch pedestal.

“I’m definitely disappointed, but we gave them a run for their money,” Knotek said. “We worked very hard, but it’s OK because everyone wins in this scenario.”

Council Bluffs Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wheat said everyone in the fire department enjoys the running competitions with the police department and enjoys giving back to the citizens of Council Bluffs.

“We’ve got a lot of service-oriented guys,” Wheat said. “Council Bluffs is our community, too, and there are lots of stuff we can do to help the community.”

During the contest, local residents were asked to donate household items such as shampoo and conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toilet paper and laundry detergent.

Debbie Orduna, director of Boys Town Iowa, said she was shocked by the amount of donated items. She said it took more than two hours to weigh everything, and items kept arriving throughout Friday.

“It’s wonderful because there is a significant need. Many people take these items for granted,” she said. “The cost of those items can add up, and most of the families we are working with are dealing with poverty. To provide these items to families helps them keep their utilities on and helps make sure their rent or house payment is made.”

Boys Town Iowa helps families in 30 western Iowa counties, but the household items collected are expected to be handed out to families in Council Bluffs.