Every year, the Salt River Fire Department (SRFD) participates in a fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) called “Fill the Boot.” At gas stations across the country, firefighters’ boots are placed on display and customers are asked to share a dollar or two to help fill the boot. This year’s event took place April 24 to 26, and participating gas stations on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community included Stayshons Chevron, On-Auk-Mor and Chevron on Via de Ventura.
The SRFD was looking to outdo their efforts last year, when they were able to raise about $3,500.
“We aren’t the only ones doing it,” explained Kevin Langolf, SRFD firefighter and curator of the event. “Firefighters in Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Avondale and all over Arizona participated. It’s going for a great cause, and the goal is to always beat last year’s numbers.”
The donations raised for MDA will be used to provide equipment and services
to children with muscular dystrophy and will even send kids to an MDA summer camp. MDA conducts more than 250 research projects worldwide on neuromuscular diseases, including periodic paralysis, spinal muscular atrophy and distal muscular dystrophy, and these projects are also beneficiaries of the “Fill the Boot” campaign.
For more than 50 years, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has been the largest national sponsor of the MDA. Members of the IAFF from all over North America have pledged to save lives and become the strongest campaigners to assist MDA. In 2006 the IAFF contributed an astounding $23.5 million during the MDA Labor Day Telethon. Since the beginning of the partnership, the IAFF has contributed almost $275 million.
“I like seeing them [firefighters] out here doing stuff like this,” said Mesa resident Billy Ingersol. “My brother is a firefighter, and when they do selfless acts off-duty it shows that we can all do a little more.”
To learn more about donating, visit the MDA website at www.mdausa.org or call the Salt River Fire Department at (480) 362-7290 and ask for Kevin Langolf.