Iowa woman wanting to make her dad a special birthday gift gets help from firefighters in all 50 states

Firefighters from around the world are helping Alli Marois make the perfect birthday gift for her dad.

Marois’ father, Bill Collins, retired last September from the Des Moines Fire Department after 38 years. He’s turning 61 years old in August, and she wanted to give him a gift that celebrates his “passion for firefighting,” she told Fox News Digital. During family vacations, Collins would get a T-shirt from local fire departments, and Marois thought it would be neat to collect as many shirts as possible and turn them into a quilt.

“I know he hasn’t been to all 50 states, so I figured why not just try something and try to get all 50 states for him,” Marois said.

In February, Marois posted on social media that she was looking for T-shirts, and encouraged firefighters to “be a part of this journey.” It didn’t take long before the shirts started rolling in, and she now has at least one tee from every state, as well as some from fire departments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marois said that once her idea started getting attention from the media, her dad learned about the project, but he won’t see the actual T-shirts until Marois finishes his present.

This has been “a humbling” experience, Marois said, adding, “as soon as all of these shirts started to come in, I got very emotional because [people are] helping someone they don’t even know.”