Dig a little deeper

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

Firefighters are used to helping others.

All too often, they are called upon to take an accident victim to the hospital or to put their lives on the line by rushing into a burning building.

Now they are asking us – or rather, giving us the chance – to help them help others.

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Beginning today, the city’s professional firefighters will be stationed outside several businesses – including both Wal-Marts in Suffolk and several Food Lion stores – throughout the weekend collecting money for the Fill the Boot campaign. All the money raised goes to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year’s goal of $45,000 sounds somewhat lofty, maybe even overambitious. After all, that’s more than $10,000 per day, all coming from people just like us digging deep into their pockets as they leave a store.

An occasional person might drop a $20 or $50 into the boot. But most drop a couple of dollars, maybe just the handful of change left from their purchase, into the bucket. While that isn’t much to each of us individually, it obviously adds up to significant amount.

Just look at last year, when the generosity of Suffolk residents enabled the city’s firefighters to give $35,000 to the MDA – a long-standing tradition of the International Association of Professional Firefighters. The organization adopted musclear dystrophy as its charity more than five decades ago and has been raising money to battle neuromuscular disease ever since.

The Suffolk chapter has raised upwards of $150,000 since it began filling the boot in 1994.

So this weekend, as you’re leaving Wal-Mart, Food Lion or wherever you happen to spot a firefighter with his boot outreached, scrape up your spare change. No doubt, your local firefighters will appreciate it.

But even more importantly, Jerry’s kids will appreciate it. Every penny that you put into the boot will help send a child to MDA camp or pay for someone’s costly and much-needed medical supplies or doctor’s bills.

Or, if miracles really do happen, your dollar may be what finds a cure for dreaded disease.