‘Fill the Boot’ to be held Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2000

Staff Writer

This coming weekend, firefighters in Pike County will be taking on an even tougher enemy than the usual blazes.

Members of the Pike County Firefighters Association will be joining the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill the Boot campaign to fight and the debilitating disease of muscular dystrophy.

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On Saturday, members of the Pike County Firefighters Association will be at area grocery stores asking shoppers to "Catch the Spirit ­ Fill the Boot" during the annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive conducted by firefighters across the nation.

Johnny Gibson, president of the Pike County Firefighters Association, said area firefighters will be holding out the boot for donations at Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Food World and the IGA stores in both Troy and Brundidge.

Firefighter will be at Winn Dixie between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the other locations.

"This is our fifth year with the boot drive," Gibson said, adding volunteers from the nine volunteer fire departments have collected $8,000 over the past few years.

But, those contributions to the Muscular Dystroyphy Association would not be possible without the kindness of Pike County residents.

"Citizens have been really good about supporting us," Gibson said. "We’re doing this for Jerry’s Kids."

Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary progressive disease that causes weakness and loss of muscle function, resulting in most patients being forced to use wheelchairs for mobility.

For over 45 years, firefighers across the nation have collected money for MDA. The partnership between firefighters and the MDA helps to fund research at clinics, such as the one at Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery. Funds raised also assist with costs of wheelchairs or leg braces and helps send children to MDA Summer Camp like the one in Jackson’s Gap.

Because of all the firefighters do to help those suffering from the gradual deterioration of skeletal muscle, Gov. Don Siegelman declared August 2001 as MDA Firefighter Appreciation Month.

Pike County firefighters will participate in the MDA telethon, commonly known as the "Jerry Lewis Telethon," being broadcast Sept. 2-3 on WAKA Channel 8 in Montgomery.

During a recent meeting of the Pike County Firefighters Association, members voted to look at an additional collection date next year, instead of limiting it to one day.