With the start of school just a few weeks away Douglas residents began lining up early Saturday morning hoping to get a free backpack filled with school supplies.

Local businesses Southwest Gas and Northern Pipe Line held its Third Annual Back to School Backpack Event at the Douglas Fire Department on 10th Street.

People began showing up an hour prior to the event kicking off. Even though it was scheduled to run 9 a.m. to 12 noon, 300 backpacks were handed out in less than an hour forcing organizers to pack up two hours early.

After the backpacks were distributed, Southwest Gas Operations Manager Jim Creason and Douglas JD Morales, supervisor for the Douglas NPL operations, admitted this was another successful and gratifying event.

Morales and Creason said this year both companies chipped in to purchase the backpacks and school supplies that were handed out to students 6-18 and employees from both companies donated their time and the DFD donated the use of its building.

Sparky was even on hand to greet the students and pose for pictures.

During the event Sandy Ramirez, coordinator for the local Hotshot crew, dropped off additional school supplies that were promptly handed out.

“I was very pleased by what I saw today,” Creason said after the event was over. “This year we used social media, Trading Post to help get the word out. We had a line by 8 o’clock this morning so it was great.”

Creason said it warms his heart to see all the smiles on the kids’ faces as they received their backpacks.

Ramirez estimated about 100 people were already in line he first arrived at the DFD Saturday to set up.

“To see that many people, already in line, can’t help but put a smile on your face,” he said. “We want to do our part to help support the community and help everybody out.”

“It was great because JD and myself were able to bring our kids today and help out the community at the same time,” Creason added. “Overall I thought it was a great event.”

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