Firefighters’ union warns of questionable fundraising efforts in metro

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GLADSTONE, Mo. -- There have been reports of questionable fundraising taking place around the metro area in the names of the fallen firefighters.

Firefighters say they're receiving overwhelming support from the community.

John Mesh and Larry Leggio

John Mesh and Larry Leggio

That support has ranged from people stopping to offer condolences, to others giving money to benefit the families of the victims.

But the firefighters' union is concerned that some may be trying to take advantage of that goodwill.

On Tuesday, two women in Gladstone solicited cash donations in the names of the fallen firefighters outside a Wal-Mart store at the intersection of 72nd and Missouri Highway 1. They had red buckets and a red poster board sign, that aroused the suspicions of some who saw it.

"We didn't have any knowledge of that nor did we authorize that," said Bill Galvin, president of Firefighters Local 42. "We believe that everything that's donated, we want them to come here, we have our Local 42 Community Assistance Fund, it's a 501c3. We'd like if people do want to donate to send it here to the union hall."

Galvin says all money raised through the firefighters' union will be used to support both families and set up scholarships for the daughters of firefighter John Mesh.

Gladstone public safety officers did confront the two women collecting cash. They did not have the proper permits, and claimed they just wanted to help the victims' families. But that must be coordinated through the fire department or the union.

How you can help

How you can help

The Kansas City Royals also are finalizing plans to raise money for the firefighters at Wednesday's playoff game through Royals Charities or the teams' 50/50 raffle.