Sunset Hills elected officials, volunteers raise $15,000 to $17,000 for relief efforts

Staff Report

Sunset Hills elected officials and other volunteers collected $15,000 to $17,000 for the city’s tornado victims from motorists traveling along South Lindbergh Boulevard during a four-hour period Sunday, according to Mayor Bill Nolan.

Nolan told the Call Monday morning he was pleased with the outpouring of support for his community, which is recovering from a tornado that whipped through it last Friday — New Year’s Eve. The elected officials used firefighters’ boots provided by the Mehlville Fire Protection District and the Crestwood Fire Department to collect the donations, the mayor said.

“I mean people were dropping $50 bills and I think we got half a dozen $100 bills,” Nolan said. “Young people — young people are incredibly generous. I mean, they’d pull up and empty all of the change out of their ashtrays. I don’t think a person under 25 just drove by us. It was amazing.

“It just restored my faith in the younger generation … It went extremely well,” he added.

Other elected officials participating in Sunday’s event, according to Nolan, included Ward 1 Aldermen Frank Hardy and Dee Baebler, Ward 2 Aldermen Tom Hrastich and Scott Haggerty, Ward 3 Alderman Stephen Webb and Ward 4 Aldermen Pat Fribis and Claudia Svoboda.

Many other volunteers, including Business Development Committee member Nick Dragan and his family, participated in Sunday’s event, which was conceived by resident Charles Hanney, according to the mayor.

“The traffic (on Lindbergh) was backed up almost to Gravois — northbound — all day yesterday (Saturday),” Nolan told the Call Sunday. “We got a guy named Charlie Hanney, lives on Lindbergh, and he called me last night and he said: I know you’ve been busy and everything’s been going on, but Bill I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we break out the firemen’s boots and take money from those people for the assistance fund? They’re stopping anyway.

“And I said to him: Chuck, that’s brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t anybody else think of that?”

Nolan said he called Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Tim White, who had firefighters’ boots delivered to the Sunset Hills Police Department. Additional boots came from the Crestwood Fire Department, Nolan said.

The mayor said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were scheduled to arrive on Tuesday in the city.

A Tornado Assistance Fund, or TAF, has been established by the city. Those who wish to donate are asked to make checks payable to the “City of Sunset Hills-TAF” and mail them to: City of Sunset Hills-TAF, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Sunset Hills, MO 63127.