Firefighters with the City of Houston and Roby volunteer fire departments will take to the streets over the next few days during the annual “Fill the Boot” fundraising campaign in support of the fight against muscular dystrophy and ALS.
The City of Houston department participated in the program for the first time in 2015, and is among 74 in the Ozarks filling their boots with donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) from their counties and communities. Last year, Houston firefighters collected a little more than $4,000 to rank 17th among all departments.
“MDA greatly appreciates Chief Joey Moore, the firefighters and all the generous people in Houston that rolled down their windows to fill the boot,” said MDA Executive Director Jerry Bear. “It was a remarkable first year.”
Fill the Boot donations began in Boston in 1954, and help maintain MDA’s hospital-affiliated clinic at Mercy Hospital in Springfield by offering diagnostic and follow-up care for people with neuromuscular disorders. The MDA clinic services include physical, occupational and respiratory therapy evaluations; assistance for repair of leg braces and wheelchairs; flu vaccinations; and MDA-offered support groups.
Additionally, Fill the Boot donations allow kids between the ages of 6 and 17 with neuromuscular diseases to spend a funfilled week at MDA summer camp and also support the world-wide research programs aggressively searching for treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases.
“Fill the Boot is amazing,” Bear said. “For 62 years, firefighters have asked and the public has responded. The firefighters work hard to organize Fill the Boot to make it successful and safe.”
Moore said motorists can expect to see firefighters holding boots from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) at U.S. 63 and Holder Drive.
The Roby Fire Department has been a Fill the Boot participant for close to 20 years, and last year set a department record of $1,765 collected for MDA.
Chief Keith Follin said Roby FD personnel will be on Highway AW from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, at highways 32 and 17 in Roby from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, and at highways 17 and 32 in Success from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday.
“Please remember our firefighters will be on the road and slow down in these areas,” Follin said.
More than one million people in the U.S. are affected by the 43 neuromuscular diseases that MDA covers, including ALS (in which MDA has invested $325 million in research and services since 1954).