‘Fill the Boot’ campaign starts next week

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, August 21, 2010

For the first year since they started participating in the national “Fill the Boot” campaign, Albert Lea firefighters will move their fundraising campaign to the streets to collect money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

From 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, firefighters will be stationed at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Avenue dressed in full gear while they carry their boots and ask for donations.

In previous years, local firefighters collected money for the fight against muscular dystrophy during the Third of July Parade. Prior to that, they were at the Northbridge Mall.

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Albert Lea Fire Department Lt. Al Schallock said this is the eighth year for local firefighters to participate in the fundraiser. Over those years, they’ve collected more than $21,000 for the cause.

This year, Schallock said, he’d like to issue a friendly competition between Albert Lea and Austin for the campaign.

Last year was the first year the Austin Fire Department participated in the campaign since 1991 and had a rousing success. The department raised $14,000, which made them the most successful station per firefighter in the upper Midwest.

This year, Austin held their Fill the Boot campaign Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, and as of press time, it was unknown how much they raised.

Albert Lea firefighters last year raised just over $3,000.

Schallock said he hoped that by making a friendly competition with Austin that Albert Lea firefighters might be able to raise more money than in year’s past.

Firefighters will be out collecting donations for three days so that if a motorist misses them the first day, they will be able to make a donation on the second or third day.

MDA has partnered with the International Association of Fire Fighters since 1954 for the fundraiser, and in 2009 alone, firefighters across the country raised more than $28.1 million to support research, clinics, support groups and summer camps, according to a press release.

All donations made stay local, supporting area families with equipment, supplies, specialty clinics and support groups. Seventy-six percent of all money goes directly back to families; 15 percent goes toward education and 9 percent goes toward fundraising.

To learn more about the disease, and to see how you can help support research, visit the Muscular Dystrophy Association at www.mdausa.org.