By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Thousands of dollars in donations for installing a barricade known as the Boot in Hancock County classrooms has been secured in recent weeks.
The largest donation came from Marathon Petroleum Corp., which is contributing $25,000 this year and $25,000 next year, said Beth Baker, crime prevention specialist for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
Marathon announced on Nov. 29 it was donating to the effort, but did not disclose the amount.
The Boot is an emergency barricade in the form of a rectangular steel plate mounted on the bottom of a classroom door. The plate has two steel pegs which can be lowered into holes drilled in the floor, preventing the door from being opened. It can withstand up to 16,000 pounds of pressure.
The goal is to raise the $420,000 necessary to put the Boot on all 1,871 classroom and administrative office doors in Findlay and Hancock County and to have the devices installed by the end of this school year.
Besides business donations, local schools have contributed to the fundraising effort.
Van Buren schools raised $4,596 collecting change, cash and checks. The drive was organized by the Van Buren Parent Teacher Organization.
“We just have a lot of passion about” making sure students are safe, PTO Co-President Nicki Harrington said. The PTO contributed $1,000, enough to put the Boot on five doors.
Dana Patterson’s third-grade class led the way, raising $330.
Riverdale has a fundraiser similar to Van Buren’s underway, and Jefferson Primary School in Findlay has raised $1,300 by the end of October, Baker said.
Other people are organizing campaigns independent of the schools. One mother purchased some coupon books and began selling them, with proceeds going toward the Boot. A group in Mount Blanchard is raising money by selling law enforcement-themed T-shirts.
“It’s inspiring to see so many different people coming together,” Baker said.
Last week, Hosler-Corbin Insurance Agency “adopted” three doors. Around the Clock, a day care center in Mount Blanchard, has sponsored three doors as well.
Dietsch Brothers, Biggby Coffee, the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club, Findlay Implement, Clouse Construction, Citizens National Bank, Dr. Stan Doty and Findlay Optometry Clinic have all sponsored doors.
County offices have also contributed. Probate and Juvenile Court employees adopted a door, as did the 3 to 11 p.m. shift of Hancock County road patrol officers and dispatchers.
“And then, of course, we just have families chipping in,” Baker said.
The website for the Crime Prevention Association of Findlay/Hancock County lists a total of $68,537 raised as of Nov. 29, reflecting the first year of Marathon’s donation.
But Baker estimates the current total, including Van Buren’s efforts and recently sponsored doors, is close to $80,000.
Donations can be made to the Crime Prevention Association of Findlay/Hancock County and sent to 200 W. Crawford St., Findlay, OH 45840 or by visiting the website at www.crimepreventionfhc.com.