A project several years in the making is finally almost done, and it’s all thanks to TikTok!
Back in 2018, Allison Marois, of Iowa, got the idea to make a quilt from fire department T-shirts collected from all 50 of the United States. The idea sprung from the family vacations she enjoyed growing up. Her dad, Bill Collins, always picked up a T-shirt from the local fire department in whatever town they visited.
Sadly, after sending out handwritten letters to fire departments across the U.S., Allison only received eight T-shirts in return.
Fast forward to 2022, when Bill retired from the Des Moines Fire Department after 38 years of service, Allison thought of a different approach to finish what she had started. Determined to pick up the project where she left off and give Bill the quilt as a birthday gift, Allison shared a video on TikTok asking people to send in shirts.
“Do your thing, TikTok!” she wrote as a caption. The video soon went viral with hundreds of thousands of views.
Allison says the response to her video has been incredible.
“It’s crazy how many people were willing to just send me a shirt out of the kindness of their hearts,” she said.
Knowing how tight-knit the firefighting world is, she’s not entirely surprised that so many people have answered her request. Many of the T-shirts they’ve received have come with handwritten notes and other good tidings. A widow whose firefighter husband died in 9/11 even sent one of his shirts.
The quilt is shaping up to be the perfect gift for her father, whom she says is the quintessential firefighter.
“He really is passionate being a firefighter,” said Allison. “That’s the one thing that he’s loved. If someone was born to do something, my dad was born to be a firefighter. My dad is one of my number one supporters and he … he is really one of the best men in my life and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.”
Allison recently received the last of the 50 T-shirts she needs to make the quilt! They’ve started cutting up the shirts and promise to share the finished product once they’re finished crafting it.
Way to go, TikTokers! Share this story to celebrate firefighting families everywhere.
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