Images from the Red Kettle Campaign's Emergency Services Challenge in 2022. (Metro Wire photos)

Will Plover firefighters take another win in the Red Kettle Challenge?

By Brandi Makuski

Organizers for the 2023 Red Kettle Challenge are hoping for a big turnout on Saturday.

Public safety crews from across the Stevens Point and Plover areas raised nearly $11,000 last year during the Portage Co. Emergency Responder challenge.

They’re hoping to at least match that this year during the one-day event, which is a major fundraiser for the Salvation Army.

Off-duty members of law enforcement and fire agencies from the Wisconsin State Patrol, Portage Co., Stevens Point, Plover, and Dewey will spend six hours ringing bells in a friendly challenge for the Salvation Army from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The locations are:

  • Stevens Point Police Department: Festival Foods, 1600 Academy Ave., Stevens Point.
  • Stevens Point Fire Department: Fleet Farm, 5590 Hwy. 10 East, Stevens Point.
  • Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, Metro Market, 1500 Pinecrest Ave, Stevens Point.
  • Dewey Fire Department, Walgreens, 10 Park Ridge Dr., Park Ridge.
  • Plover Police Department, Metro Market, 1850 Plover Rd., Plover.
  • Plover Fire Department, Walmart, 250 Crossroads Dr., Plover.
  • Wisconsin State Patrol, Walgreens, 3301 Church St., Stevens Point.

Last year, the Plover Fire Department came out on top for the second year in a row, bringing in $3,604.30 from the front doors of Walmart. In second place was the Stevens Point Fire Department, raising $2,375.71 in front of Fleet Farm. The two departments have been neck-in-neck for years, with SPFD winning just over PFD in 2019 and 2020.

Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office came in third place, pulling in $2,025.07 from its customary location at Metro Market on Pinecrest Ave.

Combined with the cash collected from the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Dewey Fire Department, and police departments from Stevens Point and Plover, and Dewey, emergency responders raised $10,983.81.

“It doesn’t really matter who wins or who comes in last,” said Sheriff Mike Lukas. “This is just a fun, friendly challenge that helps give back to the community.”

In 2021, the same group raised $13,874.92. In 2020, the group pulled in $9,414.30.