CLINTON — Porch lights, homes decorated with Christmas lights, ribbons and bows — everything in Clinton is red this week.
As word of the death of Clinton Fire Lt. Eric Hosette and the injuries sustained by Clinton firefighter Adam Cain spread over the weekend, so did community support.
“Thoughts and prayers” flooded social media. Profile pictures changed from selfies to fire department logos.
Every sector of the community looked for a way to show respect for the the men and women who run toward danger to save those who need to be rescued from it.
From somewhere came the idea to light up the town in firefighter red, perhaps from similar campaigns to honor fallen police officers through the use of blue bulbs.
Employees at O’Donnell Ace Hardware in Clinton fielded calls about red light bulbs Monday afternoon. The store didn’t have any. A shipment of 800 was expected Tuesday, and the store would open an hour early — at 7 a.m. — to accommodate customers. A sign on the front door said the same.
An earlier first shipment of 400 bulbs sold out in 35 minutes, Manager Dave Larsen said. Customers were waiting for the bulbs before employees had them unloaded.
Some people are being creative if they can’t find red bulbs, said Larsen. They spray paint bulbs, color them with red markers or put red cellophane over them. Not all options are safe.
“You want to be careful with heat,” Larsen said.
Richard Burkhart, manager of Paul’s Discount in Clinton, expected a shipment of 300-400 red bulbs Tuesday. They should be on the shelf by 1:30 or 2 p.m. he said.
“We don’t keep a lot of red bulbs,” Burkhart said. They aren’t usually in high demand.
The store sold out quickly when the campaign to paint the town red began.
Customers took anything red, Burkhart said, including rope lights left over from Christmas. He doesn’t know how many red lights Paul’s has sold, “but by the amount of phone calls we’ve received, it’s a lot.”
When people aren’t lighting up their homes and porches with red lights, they are wearing red and fastening red bows to trees, doors, mailboxes and vehicles.
Craig and Tonya Benadom, of Miles, dressed in red Monday to show support for Clinton’s firefighters. They drove through Deanna’s Java Station for coffee, and Java employee Stephanie Lankford gave them red ribbons as well.
“We went through 300 [ribbons] the first two hours we were open, between our two locations,” Lankford said. They’d handed out at least 500 by Monday afternoon.
The initial ribbons were made by employee Jenna Dann, Lankford said. Another friend of the business was making additional bows. Java Station will give them away while supplies last, Lankford said.
Jane Deters, owner of Clinton Floral Shop, turned spools of red ribbon into large and small bows Monday. The idea came from her son, who knows both the firefighters, she said.
“I called late last night to my supplier,” Deters said Monday. By 5 a.m., she had spools of red ribbon that she and her employees had been turning into bows since 7 a.m.
By Monday afternoon they’d given away about 600 bows, she said.
“Most people just walk in,” and some take 10 to 12 at a time.
The hospital asked for 34 ribbons for emergency room nurses, Deters said. They called Monday asking for additional bows for second- and third-shift employees.
When people pick up the bows, they want to pay for them, Deters said. She tells people to donate the money to the Clinton Fire Department. A container on the counter was nearly full of donations.
“One guy wrote a check for $250,” Deters said. “It’s just an outpouring of love from the community.”