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Donations pour in for firefighter after arson

Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-06 15:24:45-04

Donations continue to pour in for Gratwick Hose volunteer firefighter, Kenneth Walker.

The GoFundMe page for the Walker family has received more than $136,000.That's not including the countless calls at the fire station. “We're working diligently to return all the phone calls we can. But the sheer volume has just been overwhelming,” explained Gratwick Hose Fire President Bob Brennan.

The calls have come from across the country. “We heard from over 26 states in this nation supporting Ken Walker and his family. People from Fairbanks, Alaska, Pensicola, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, 26 states in all,” Brennan explained.

Walker’s story first made headlines Monday when he received a racially charged letter in his mailbox. The letter referred to Walker as the n-word, and told him to quit the fire department, or he “would regret it.”

Then, on Wednesday, 7 Eyewitness News was the first to report his home had caught fire. Walker’s neighbor, Matthew Jurado has since been charged with second degree arson in connection to the fire.

People from across the country have rallied behind the Walker family. Brennan said he spent about 15 hours at the fire hall on Thursday answering calls and returning emails. He said people have offered everything from cash, to clothing, food to furniture.

One woman from Orlando is even donating a trip to Disney World for Walker, his wife, and their two daughters.

“We've heard from mattress shops pledging anything they have, to flooring shops, furniture shops, super markets, and gas stations. We've heard from virtually every trade in the business that serves our community,” Brennan said.

A donation drive is also planned on Sunday, August 7 at the fire station located at 110 Ward Road in North Tonawanda from 10-2pm. If you are interested in donating, but can’t make the drive, please call (716) 692-9675.