Opinion

Thanks for ‘filling the boot’ for muscular dystrophy | Island Forum

Mercer Island firefighters raised $7,520 during this year
Mercer Island firefighters raised $7,520 during this year's Fill the Boot campaign.
— image credit: File Photo

In 1952, a father of a child with muscular dystrophy asked the firefighters in Boston to help raise money for the medical bills associated with his child’s disease. The firefighters agreed to help, and they raised $5,000 in a door-to-door campaign asking people to contribute to this cause by putting money in a firefighter’s boot. That is how “fill the boot” was born.

In 1954, the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) established the Muscular Dystrophy Association as its charity of choice. IAFF is the single largest sponsor of the MDA. To date, the IAFF has raised over $482 million dollars with over 300,000 participants each year throughout the USA and Canada.

In 2007 your Mercer Island firefighters fully embraced this tradition, and with us the community of Island residents. Your generosity and support has been overwhelming, and we want to thank you for making this such a successful event each year. It takes nearly our entire membership to pull the event off, not only those who work in the street, but those who help plan and coordinate the event. All of the time spent planning and participating in the event is done off-duty on the firefighters’ own time, but it is worth it, knowing we are helping a great cause, and also seeing through your generosity how much you are in support of what we are doing.

The first year we raised $6,476 — that day started with a City Council member delivering a $100 check, before we were even set up.

Between 2008 and 2012, we’ve raised an average of $6,900 a year, or about $35,000, to help children with muscular dystrophy. This year on June 28, 2012, we raised $7,520.

While we don’t beat some of the bigger fire unions in total dollars, in firefighter per dollar per hour we can’t be matched. That is because of you, the people of Mercer Island, and your willingness to be so very, very generous in supporting this program.

We understand that our collecting for MDA can slow traffic at times, and we try to work hard at not causing any delays. We will always keep in mind that people have places to go and are very busy. As firefighters we are also always mindful of safety and do a yearly review of the event and make sure we stay safe.

Thanks to all the people of Mercer Island for your support. If you would like to get a head start on adding to next year’s total, please make checks out to MDA, and send to us at: P.O. Box 1114, Mercer Island, Wash., 98040.

We would also love to hear your comments at mercerfirefighters@yahoo.com.

Thank you, again.

Ray Austin is the president of the Mercer Island Firefighters Union.

 

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