Fill the Boot raises $83,000

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue’s Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for the Greater Virginia Muscular Dystrophy Association raised the most money of any group in the greater Hampton Roads region.

Fire Chief Michael Barakey announced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting during a presentation that it had raised more than $60,000 during the campaign.

Lt. Travis Saunders and Fire Medic 2 Joe Jarman of Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Suffolk Firefighters Local 2801 raised another $23,000 in their 130-mile walk in March for MDA from the Virginia Beach oceanfront to Richmond, putting the total raised to $83,000.

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Local 2801 has raised $762,735 since 1999, according to Pam King, an investigator with Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Local 2801.

Darcy Warren, a development specialist with the Greater Virginia Muscular Dystrophy Association, expressed her appreciation for the efforts of those with Suffolk Fire & Rescue.

“I am here to recognize the incredible joint efforts of the city of Suffolk’s Fire & Rescue and Suffolk Professional Firefighters Local 2801 and everything they did for Fill the Boot,” Warren said.

She said in the last year, MDA had its eighth drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration, with 155 clinical trials currently going on.

“Contributions fuel MDA’s efforts to find research breakthroughs and empower our families,” Warren said.

She also praised the March for MDA efforts.

“The March for MDA, I got to work very closely with them, they made Suffolk proud, is all I can tell you,” Warren said. “Joe came to me and said, ‘I want to do this, but I don’t want it to go (just) to Suffolk. I want it to go to Virginia as a whole.’ And that’s what we did.”

Jarman’s efforts brought in 14 million page views and impressions for MDA during the March for MDA, and more than 54,000 views and impressions for MDA on social media.

“His goal was to bring attention and money, and that is exactly what he did,” Warren said. “He’s going to duplicate it again in 2020, and we’re involving fire departments from all over the state, and everybody’s going to come together and they’re going to do a relay type of a march for MDA.”

Warren got emotional talking about the impact Suffolk firefighters have had in the Fill the Boot campaign.

“Your Suffolk firefighters do so much every day, and by participating in this Fill the Boot, they, along with the support of the Suffolk community, are saving thousands more and helping those impacted by muscle disease,” Warren said. “You truly have some incredible people here with this department. The hard work, love, commitment and dedication that they put forth for our families in Fill the Boot has truly blessed me and has had the biggest impact on my life.”