Mineral Point community members raise thousands for the families of two fallen firefighters

MINERAL POINT, Wis. – Just three days after two Mineral Point firefighters were killed in a crash, members of their community raised roughly 50 thousand dollars to help support the two men’s families.

Fire Capt. Brian Busch and firefighter James Ludlum died Thursday in a crash on Highway 151 while responding to another crash.

Since then, several fundraising efforts have kicked off in Mineral Point including one by owner of The Mineral Point Gallery Ben Brummerhop.

RELATED: First responders hold procession for Mineral Point firefighters killed in deadly crash

“The only tangible thing I have to offer the world is art, and so I figured I would just paint a painting and then just raffle it,” he said.

Brummerhop said he was inspired to get involved because both his father and grandfather were volunteer firemen.

“It kind of becomes a part of who you are and so when you hear of a first responder being injured or in this case that died it hits home,” he said. 

Before he knew it his idea took off with other artists from the community and all over Wisconsin coming forward with their own pieces to donate and raffle off.

But it’s not just artists stepping up, down the street from Brummerhop’s gallery, dozens of people gathered at the Mine Shaft with cash donations.

They were inspired by the local bar’s employee, Brad Hermanson, who started the fundraiser to show his gratitude to the Mineral Point fire department urging patrons to “Fill the Boot.”

“The fire department was there for me when my dad passed,” he said.

Hermanson also said he initially planned to try and raise just a couple hundred dollars by working for free and throwing his tips in the boot but when others heard about his effort, it took on a life of its own.

“My Facebook post was shared over 455 times, had multiple people from different fire departments get a hold of me and just ask what they could do,” he explained.

He said the request to donate grew so large he created a separate GoFundMe to manage.

Both Hermanson and Brummerhop shared their gratitude for their small community’s support and their hopes the fundraisers would help the families of the two heroes know they were cared for.