Firefighters hope to ‘fill the boot’

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Firefighter Chris Asbell, Lt. Laurina Lopez and Firefighter David Dickens collect donations for the “Fill the Boot” campaign on Wednesday near the 7-Eleven on Centerbrooke Lane. The international event supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Firefighter Chris Asbell, Lt. Laurina Lopez and Firefighter David Dickens collect donations for the “Fill the Boot” campaign on Wednesday near the 7-Eleven on Centerbrooke Lane. The international event supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Suffolk firefighters will be out and about this weekend collecting spare change and bills from motorists and shoppers for the International Association of Fire Fighters’ annual “Fill the Boot” campaign.

The money collected will go to the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which provides programs, education and research for people with muscular diseases.

The relationship between the firefighters’ union and the MDA has been going on for almost 60 years now, officials said.

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“We feel like part of the family with MDA,” said Roger Lopez, IAFF/MDA National coordinator. “We have firefighters all across the country going out annually to fill the boot.”

Lopez said he has visited summer camps for children living with muscular dystrophy put on by the MDA.

“You get to see the families that are affected, and you see what a big difference that fundraising makes for them,” he said.

Since a few firefighters started raising money for MDA on their own 59 years ago, about $503 million has been collected, Lopez said.

“That money the citizen is putting into that boot stays local,” he said. “That money doesn’t travel across country. It helps in the district office. The MDA does so much. That money goes a long way in helping families get along in their day-to-day lives.”

Jennie Mummert, executive director for Central and Southeastern Virginia MDA, said the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue has been helping with the campaign for more than 13 years and has raised about $400,000.

Some of the funds raised help put on the weeklong summer camp held at the 4-H Airfield Center in Wakefield for children ages 6 to 17 living with muscular dystrophy, Mummert said.

“We are extremely thankful and proud of all that the Suffolk firefighters have done and continue to do through their annual Fill the Boot drive for MDA,” Mummert said.

Firefighters will collect from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the following locations:

  • Walmart, 1200 N. Main St.
  • Firehouse Subs, 1207 N. Main St.
  • Walmart, 1200 N. Main St.
  • Chick-fil- A, 1018 N. Main St.
  • Raceway, 1215 Portsmouth Blvd.
  • Food Lion, 1010 Portsmouth Blvd.
  • Kangaroo, 1125 Wilroy Road
  • Food Lion, 1575 Holland Road
  • Walmart, 6259 College Drive
  • Kohl’s, 6253 College Drive
  • Harris Teeter, 7386 Harbour Towne Parkway
  • Chick-Fil-A, 6212 College Drive
  • Food Lion, 2815 Godwin Blvd.
  • 7-Eleven, 1000 Centerbrooke Lane
  • Walgreens, 2902 Godwin Blvd.
  • 7-Eleven, 2317 Holland Road
  • Suffolk Mart, 6273 Holland Road
  • Red Apple, 1139 Carolina Road
  • J and L, 6500 Whaleyville Blvd.
  • 7-Eleven, 6020 Godwin Blvd.
  • Food Lion, 3215 Bridge Road
  • Farm Fresh, 3605 Bridge Road