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Blaze’s efforts warm hearts as well as bodies

In case you hadn't noticed, November has arrived and brought with it much cooler temperatures.

Though we could brag to our family and friends living much further east than us that we could still wear shorts when the month arrived, it was just a few days later when the lows plummeted from the low 60s into the high 30s.

Brrrr. It's a little chilly.

Most of us can just put on a coat and snuggle under an extra blanket when the mercury begins to fall. Not everyone in Southern Nevada is so lucky.

Fortunately, Blaze Trumble is looking out for them.

For the past seven years, he has marked his November birthday by collecting coats and blankets for those who are homeless and delivering them to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. This year will be no different.

Blaze said his winter coat and blanket drive began shortly before his sixth birthday. His mom, Frannie Trumble, asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate. His idea: Provide cups of hot chocolate to the homeless.

After considering the proposition, Blaze's parents, Frannie and Don, convinced him it would be better to provide them with blankets.

That's what they did, and his birthday project has grown every year. Last year, they collected more than 900 blankets and coats, as well as beanies, scarves and mittens, which were brought to the rescue mission.

"It's really nice because every year a lot of people come back and want to help," Blaze told me earlier this week.

He said he does this because he likes seeing how people can care about one another.

Though he started by just collecting blankets, some of the people asked for coats that first year, so he expanded his efforts.

The idea is just to help people stay warm, he said.

Last year, one woman brought two cases of knitted scarves and beanies, Don said, adding it was evident in the pieces how much care and love she put into each piece.

"You don't realize how such a small effort means so much," he added.

Though the family said they are a little late in getting the collection boxes out because of illnesses, they hope to exceed last year's number of donations.

Luckily for them, people in Boulder City are ready to help.

Some of his neighbors began giving Blaze donations four months ago. And they have heard that customers at the credit union have been asking about the donation box.

The seventh-grader at Garrett Junior High began setting out boxes this week at various locations in town (Boulder Dam Credit Union, The Coffee Cup, Christian Center Church and hopefully Albertsons) and plans to be at Boulder Dam Credit Union on Friday after school to accept donations and speak about his efforts with anyone who has questions.

Blaze, who tried to hide beneath his baseball cap and spoke softly about his efforts, said he doesn't do this for the recognition.

"I do it because it helps."

Don said the only reason Blaze agrees to speak with anyone about his efforts is because it helps the cause.

The Trumbles will deliver this year's donations on Nov. 25, which is Blaze's 13th birthday.

As he has done for the past couple of years, Blaze will bring along a few of his friends and they will share a Thanksgiving meal with those at the rescue mission before handing out items.

There is a caveat, however. Don said each friend who wants to go with them has to collect at least 10 items to be given away. It helps them feel more a part of the project.

"It's very humbling," Frannie said. "We have learned they they're (those at the mission) are just like the rest of us."

As a way of thanks for the gifts, those at the rescue mission show their appreciation by singing "Happy Birthday" to Blaze.

It may be a little cold outside, but Blaze's thoughtfulness is truly heartwarming.

More information about Blaze and his project can be found at www.blazeswish.com.

— Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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