RACE WINNER:

Jeff Sullivan was the first runner to finish the Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive Turkey Trot 5K run on Thursday morning.

BULLHEAD CITY — It was wet, dark and chilly Thursday morning when about 75 people made their way to Rotary Park to participate in the annual Turkey Trot.

Rising early and going out in the rain was for a good cause: the Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive. 

During this holiday season, the firefighters will collect toys for 1,100 underprivileged children in and around the Tri-state and much of Mohave County. 

Harrah’s Laughlin was the major co-sponsor of this year’s Turkey Trot in support of the firefighters. 

The Human Bean was among other event sponsors. The business provided free coffee, which helped the coldest and most bleary-eyed participants rev up to start the 5K run-walk-jog.

Experienced runners quickly finished the course through sections Rotary Park. 

The first person to complete the 3.1 miles was Jeff Sullivan, with a time of 23 minutes, 28 seconds. He grew up in Bullhead City and  now lives in the Los Angeles area. He was in town visiting family during the holiday. 

There was no finish line, but completing the course was achieved by passing under the arched sign that reads: Don Sullivan Memorial Park, which is located in the southwest section of Rotary Park.

“That was my dad,” Sullivan said afterward, while drinking a bottle of water and looking toward the sign.

His mother, Laurie Sullivan-Burger, is a long-time employee of the News West Publishing.

A golden retriever, Echo, ran with her owner, Sarah Clark, of Bullhead City. Clark put a completion medal around Echo’s neck after the race. 

Clark and Echo, whose appearance at the event was amply attention-getting, both looked proud as they posed for pictures.

The Desert Juggernauts, a running club consisting of members with ties to Mohave High School’s track and cross country teams, had nine participants. One of the members collected T-shirts for the group.

It was a family event. There were children and people pushing strollers with children too young to even walk.

The firefighters mark finishing times for participants but the idea of the event is to raise money to help put on the annual toy drive.

“Every participant received a medal,” said BCFD Capt. Jeff Jackson.

The trot has received $4,500 in proceeds so far. 

The Firefighter’s Holiday Toy Drive is a not for profit 501(c)3 organization with the mission of ensuring no child goes without a gift to open on Christmas morning. The firefighters initially focused on Bullhead City families but have added more communities during the years. 

The Bullhead City Fire Department and Bullhead Professional Firefighters Association were the founders of the toy drive. It began in 1983 after some Bullhead City firefighters noticed the need in the community so they “banded together to purchase, wrap and hand-deliver toys in the Fire Truck on Christmas Eve,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Other fund raising events are planned. Firefighters will be collecting toys as well.

For details about the Toy Drive, email info@firefightersholidaytoydrive.org

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