Paddling for Pennies sets off on 150 mile kayak trip to raise money for fallen Clayton firefighters

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- A group of people are set to tackle a grueling 150 mile kayak trip to raise money for fallen firefighters.

It's called Paddling for Pennies, and it's an annual event started by Knightdale firefighter Allen Williford.

The kayakers launched into the Neuse River on Thursday morning from the Smithfield Commons boat ramp. They will trek through Goldsboro and Kinston and finish up their trip in New Bern this weekend.

While this fundraiser is nothing new for Williford, this year's event hits home.

Money raised at this year's event will benefit the families of two Clayton firefighters: Jason Dean and Steven Smith.

"Jason Dean was my first fire chief when I got into the fire service in Clayton and Steven was there as a firefighter with me," Williford said. "We've got to have each other's back whether it's mentally, physically, financially--it is the brotherhood mantra we try to live by."

Paddling for Pennies asks people to pledge small amounts of money per mile of the kayak trip. The group says small donations really can add up!

For more information on the group and how you can donate, click here.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.