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Special online T-shirt fundraiser for Ebenezer firefighter killed in truck accident

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - People find different ways to remember a loved one after they’re gone and friends and supporters of the Ebenezer Fire Department are paying tribute to one of their fallen heroes with a T-shirt fundraiser.

It was March 18 around 9 o’clock at night when 36 year-old Ebenezer volunteer firefighter Dustin Brandhorst died when the station truck he was driving left the roadway and overturned while he was responding to a fire in Fair Grove.

The outpouring of love and support in the days that followed from fellow first responders and area residents was amazing.

But now the fire department is having to come to terms with the “new normal” without Dustin.

“Everybody is dealing with it differently,” said Ebenezer Fire Chief Nelson Prewitt. “I haven’t seen so much a drop in morale as much as I’ve seen an increase in morale as people have come together. But it brings home the fact that yeah, you may not go home today. Things can get very serious very quickly. We do everything we can to make things safe and keep that from happening, but it does happen.”

Wanting to keep Dustin’s spirit alive the fire department and the Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in Springfield are holding an online T-shirt fundraiser which the Greek Corner has done in the past.

“Unfortunately over the last couple of years there’s been four other firefighters or police officers who have fallen on duty,” said Greek Corner Owner Jason Parke. “Through these fundraisers we’ve been able to raise over $18,000 for their families.”

According to Prewitt the Brandhorst family has requested that the money raised from the T-shirt sales be used for scholarships to pay for Ebenezer volunteers to get their firefighting and medical training certificates.

“Dustin was in that (training) program,” Prewitt explained. “He wanted to become a career firefighter and was scheduled this week to take another one of his state tests. He never got to take it but state fire marshal Tim Bean presented the family with his honorary certificate on the day of the visitation.”

The T-shirts are available until 9 a.m. April 18 and will be ready for distribution starting May 2 at 9 a.m.

Both the Ebenezer and Greek Corner Facebook pages have more on the T-shirt fundraiser and the link is:

https://stores.inksoft.com/in_memory_of_dustin_brandhorst/shop/home

And it’s interesting that over the years T-shirts have become an emotional and popular way to remember a loved one who’s passed away.

“A T-shirt tells a story,” Parke said. “You go through your closet and see it and it’s a reminder that firefighters and police officers put their lives on the line every day. So this is one way that we can support them and show our appreciation.”

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