By Sherell Williams
If you notice a Fairfax County firefighter standing at an intersection while you’re sitting at a red light over the weekend, don’t panic: they’re just collecting donations for the 2013 “Fill the Boot” campaign.
The annual event, which starts Thursday and lasts through the Labor Day weekend, benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
All of the money raised during “Fill the Boot” helps support MDA services and research programs in the Washington, D.C. area.
The campaign is a partnership between the Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics - International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2068, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications and Subway Restaurants.
“’Fill the Boot’ is an incredible undertaking as you can see here today and we couldn’t do without the incredible communication, enthusiasm, energy and support for what we do at the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” said Janice Reardon, executive director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), at a kickoff event for the campaign in Burke on Wednesday.
Firefighters will be stationed at intersections throughout Fairfax County and collecting donations from residents through Monday, Sept. 2. The intersections are selected by the local fire stations and are not advertised in advance.
Residents who are unable to find a firefighter can visit the IAFF 2068’s website for location updates or drop a monetary donation off at your local station throughout the weekend. Donations will not be accepted at fire stations after Sept. 2.
The IAFF is one of the top contributors to MDA, donating more than $425 million over the last 59 years. Last year, Fairfax County raised more than $550,000 for MDA in four days, more than any group in the country. Fire and Rescue Station 5 in Franconia brought in $18,698 in one day, while Burke Station 4 had the highest amount of money collected per person at $615, according to Reardon.
“Without you and your support, that money would never have been collected,” said Seth Cohen, who spoke about the difficult of watching his son deal with his muscle disease at the kickoff event. “There’s a fire burning inside of these kids. Who better to help save them than firefighters?”
Local officials Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41st), Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity and Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross echoed similar sentiments at Wednesday’s event and thanked the firefighters for their efforts during “Fill the Boot” and throughout the year.
“Our firefighters are the best in the United States. They’re committed, disciplined, and the “Fill the Boot” campaign is just another way to offer hope and let our residents know ‘you’re part of the community and we’re here to support you,’” said Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11th).
To learn more about MDA, visit www.mda.org.