• Firefighter Ed Fleming is shown participating in a previous holiday parade in Murphy.
    Firefighter Ed Fleming is shown participating in a previous holiday parade in Murphy.

SCOUTING AROUND: Boot drive raises funds for fellow firefighter

    Volunteers from seven volunteer fire departments came together to help one of their own on the weekend before Christmas. A boot drive organized by the Peachtree Volunteer Fire Department raised $11,000 with help from the Brasstown, Bellview, Hiwassee Dam, Murphy, Peachtree, Ranger and Wolf Creek fire departments to support Ed Fleming.
    “It’s amazing,” Peachtree Fire Chief Jordan Messer said. “He served at nearly every one of those departments.”
    Fleming, who served in fire and rescue for more than 30 years in Cherokee County, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident Oct. 4. Messer said he’s been in contact with Fleming’s son, and the money raised through the boot drive will completely cover one stage of his rehab.
    In the accident, Fleming was riding his motorcycle eastbound on U.S. 64 when a vehicle hit him, Messer said. He suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones, including those in his wrist, ankle, face, ribs and spine. No one thought he would make it.
    “He’s still in rehab, but he’s doing a lot better,” Messer said.
    Fleming is re-learning how do things like swallow, walk and use his arms. Messer said Fleming started volunteering in fire and rescue at a young age.
    “It was something he fell in love with,” Messer said. “He loves the community.”
    Over the years, he has served as chief and assistant chief of the Peachtree department. He is still an officer for Peachtree, and also volunteers for the Bellview Fire Department.
    Those who were unable to donate during the boot drive may visit the Ed Fleming Motorcycle Accident Fund at gofundme.com/ed-fleming-motorcycle-accident-fund.

Business owners help spread cheer
    Matthew and Cassandra Hendrix are frequent customers at both The Daily Grind & Wine and the Curiosity Shop bookstore in downtown Murphy. When they heard the coffee shop would be closed on Christmas Eve while the bookstore would be open, they were concerned that traffic would be down for the bookstore.
    At their own store, Movie Time Video & Easy Tan, they had been serving hot chocolate throughout the holiday season. They decided to offer their supplies to Kerry Archer and Anne Silver, owners of the Curiosity Shop.
    “We just wanted to drive up traffic for them,” Hendrix said. “We just wanted to spread cheer.”
    Archer offered to pay
them for the supplies of powdered mix, mini marshmallows and candy canes, but the couple refused, instead suggesting they collect donations for a local charity. So Archer and Silver decided to collect donations for the Hurlburt-Johnson Friendship House homeless shelter.
    The Hendrixes set up the self-serve station with a hot water dispenser in the common area of the Shoppes of Murphy, then put a sign outside to help draw in more customers.
    “They just brought everything,” Silver said. “All we provided was the table and the tablecloth.”
    The Curiosity Shop had a busy day, and ended up raising nearly $40 for the homeless shelter.
    “A lot of people commented that it was so nice that we had free hot chocolate right outside our door,” Silver said.
    Hendrix said that come next year, they may provide the opportunity for customers to give donations as they enjoy a hot chocolate at their store, too.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.