Blaze Trumble has a passion that burns brightly.
It’s not baseball, even though the preteen played on Boulder City Little League’s All-Star team last season.
It’s not hanging with his friends, even though that’s how he spends much of his free time.
And it’s not his family, even though it supports him in all that he does.
His passion is helping others.
For the seventh year, Blaze is celebrating his birthday by collecting new and gently used coats, blankets and other cold-weather items for the needy.
Blaze will celebrate his 12th birthday Nov. 25 gathering up donated items from locations throughout Boulder City. The following day, he, along with family, friends and team members, will deliver the cold-weather gear to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and distribute them after a Thanksgiving meal has been served to the homeless and those in need.
According to Blaze’s father, Don Trumble, this year his son invited 20 of his baseball buddies to get involved. The boys, from his past and present club teams as well as members of the 2014 Boulder City All Stars, were each asked to collect at least 10 items “so that when they come to the mission with us to hand out the donations, they can really feel like they contributed.”
The sixth-grader at Garrett Middle School started his “Birthday Wish” project just before his 6th birthday. He had seen people in need when he accompanied his mother, Frannie Trumble, at work. He wanted to serve them some hot chocolate so they could get warm.
They couldn’t quite figure out how to get the hot chocolate to those that needed it, so they decided to collect blankets, Blaze said last Friday while standing in front of Boulder Dam Credit Union to solicit donations for this year’s Birthday Wish project.
While dropping off the blankets, “they asked about jackets, so we started doing jackets,” he said.
“It makes me feel happy when I can help somebody else,” Blaze said of why he has made gathering blankets and jackets his birthday wish each year.
Even if he has a party with friends or family, all he asks for are donations for the needy.
“As a family, it made us realize the importance of helping others,” Frannie Trumble said.
What has truly affected them all is seeing the gratitude from those who receive what Blaze collected, she added.
Blaze said he continues to be touched by those at the mission and it is their honest appreciation of his efforts that keeps him going.
One year, after learning it was his birthday, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. It was a moment no one in the Trumble family will forget, Frannie Trumble said.
As a parent, she is especially proud of him, as well as the community they call home.
At the mission, he has the donations sorted into piles by size to make it easier to hand them out. He also has scarves and beanies that he will give away.
Each year his project grows and helps more people.
The first year, his goal was to collect 106 items — 100 plus six because he was turning 6.
“We worried it he would make it, but every year he does,” Frannie Trumble said.
That first year, he collected 286 blankets. The following year, they gathered 609 blankets and jackets. Last year, Blaze’s efforts netted more than 900 items.
He hopes to surpass that this year, but is keeping his goal a closely guarded secret. It’s so secret he won’t even tell his parents.
Blaze has set up donation boxes at several local businesses. They can be found at Albertsons, 1008 Nevada Way; Boulder Dam Brewing Co., 453 Nevada Way; Boulder Dam Credit Union, 530 Avenue G; Christian Center Church, 571 Adams Blvd.; The Coffee Cup, 512 Nevada Way; Plaza Realty, 581 Hotel Plaza; and Vons, 1031 Nevada Highway.
Additionally, donations can be brought to Henderson Harley-Davidson, 1010 W. Warm Springs Road.
More information is available at www.blazeswish.com.