Lindale, Texas (Lindale ISD) — It has been more than a month since Joe Yeakley was seriously injured while battling a house fire in Lindale. But, time does not change anything for the young students at the Lindale Early Childhood Center (ECC). Their support for their beloved “Firefighter Joe” does not waver.
So far, the campus has raised more than $1,300 for Yeakley. The pre-K and kindergarten students began the fundraiser for the injured firefighter at the end of January. A boot and bunker gear from the local fire department was placed in the school to remind students to donate money. The event was scheduled to end February 13, but the students will not stop filling Yeakley’s boot.
“They were so excited about giving their money to Fireman Joe,” said ECC Principal Dana Sustaire. “Many of them gave Tooth Fairy money, their allowance, and piggy bank money. Our students truly understand how important it is to give unselfishly to those in need.”
“I knew our community as a whole was very caring, but the response from the school district since all this has happened has really impressed and emotionally touched the guys in the department,” said Lufkin Volunteer Fire Department Public Information Officer Aaron Munn.
Munn said Yeakley would regularly volunteer for fire prevention talks at ECC. And although he’s not sure if the students know they are helping out the same Mr. Joe who taught them fire safety, he said he is so thankful for their support.
“Joe has spent a lot of time showing how much he cares about those kids and it is great to see it coming back to him,” Munn said.
Yeakley was fighting a house fire when the roof collapsed on him in January. He received burns on 50 percent of his body. The Lindale volunteer firefighter is still undergoing numerous surgeries and recovering in a Dallas hospital.