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Boulder City kindergarten boy delivers blankets to homeless in Las Vegas

By FRED COUZENS
VIEW STAFF WRITER




Anthony Ridley, right, hugs Blaze Trumble, a kindergarten student at Williams Elementary in Boulder City, after the boy gave him a blanket at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission Nov. 26. Photo by Vic Valbuena Bareng/VIEW


Six-year-old Boulder City boy Blaze Trumble made a lot of new friends recently -- 264 of them, to be exact.

The way he did it was collecting blankets in his hometown and handing them out to the homeless at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission on the afternoon and evening before Thanksgiving.

Blaze distributed 264 blankets and dropped off a couple dozen more, including 10 baby blankets, for future use at the 480 Bonanza Road mission. The boy also delivered to the shelter $1,340 donated for homeless aid by the people of Boulder City.

"I just kind of thought of it," the Mitchell Elementary School kindergarten student, who turned 6 on Nov. 22, said when asked why he undertook the humanitarian gesture. "People just don't have anything, and they need something to keep them warm."

It all started about four weeks before Thanksgiving when Blaze's mother, Frannie Trumble, sent out fliers outlining her son's project and started setting up collection boxes at various highly traveled locations around Boulder City.

"At first it went slow, but after word got around, we had lots of blankets," she said. "He had a birthday party at home on Nov. 22 and got 13 blankets there. The last few days at the (Boulder Dam) credit union and the Coffee Cup (café) the boxes were overflowing. If we had started this earlier, we maybe would have gotten a lot more."

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation employees kicked in 22 blankets.

Blaze's goal was collecting 106 blankets, a number the boy and his family decided upon.

"Originally, he wanted to do six, but we thought that wouldn't go very far," Blaze's mom said. "So we then said 106. All along he said he wanted to do something for the homeless."

On the afternoon of Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving, Blaze and his parents packed up their truck and drove to the downtown Las Vegas Rescue Mission where an appreciative, enthusiastic crowd met them.

"They went fast, about an hour and a half or less," Frannie Trumble said. "When we pulled up, they were trying to get into the back of the truck."

One of the 264 people to receive a blanket from Blaze was Anthony Ridley, who had come to Las Vegas from Detroit three weeks earlier looking for work.

"You don't know how much this means to me," said the 40-year-old former line cook. "It's a blessing from God. This comes from a big heart from a little kid. Believe it or not, you have a good heart."

Ridley worked at an Applebee's restaurant near Detroit until he decided he'd had enough of the Motor City and its snow.

"I put in my two weeks' notice thinking I could transfer and have a job when I got here," he said. "They don't transfer jobs and there was no job out here to give, so I had to suffer the consequences."

A couple hours after receiving his blanket, Ridley went into the rescue mission's kitchen and dining hall while the Trumble family was having dinner to thank Blaze once again for his blue, twin-size blanket.

"It touched my heart, truthfully," Ridley said to Blaze as the boy dined on turkey, stuffing and the fixings. "To know you did this touched my heart. It makes me want to return the favor. I don't know where you live, but I will find you. And when I do, I'm going to bring you an Xbox."

While providing blankets to adults was memorable for the Trumble family, handing out baby blankets made an indelible impression.

"The hardest part was seeing the kids," said Frannie Trumble, while her husband, Don, a painting and drywall contractor, added, "But seeing a boy in a dress, that was really sad."

Blaze said he wanted to thank everyone for donating the blankets and money and talked about possibly doing it again next year.

"We were asked to come back," Frannie Trumble said. "If we decide to do it again next year, my suggestion would be blankets and jackets."

She said the blanket drive wasn't quite over yet because some collection boxes were still out there at the credit union and the Coffee Cup. The Trumbles planned to make a return trip to the rescue mission before Christmas, she said.

When it was over, Blaze said his first visit to a homeless shelter was worthwhile in every respect.

"It was kind of cool because I got to see the homeless and even got to eat there, and the food was so good you couldn't make it any better," Blaze said. "They said they were proud of me and thought this was a very good thing for me to do. One of the homeless persons really liked me and I liked him."

Contact Boulder City View reporter Fred Couzens at fcouzens@viewnews.com or 279-5133.


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