Franklin ‘Fills the Boot’ for $5,000
Published 11:29 am Saturday, October 4, 2014
For about 15 hours over 5 days out of a planned 6 days, the team at Franklin Fire and Rescue braved the recent daytime heat to hit the streets and hold out a boot to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Association. And they outdid themselves, collecting approximately $5,000, which was $1,000 more their previous record.
“Our goal was $5,000 and we reached that,” said Seth Edwards, who coordinated it with the fire department. “And we were not even able to collect every day that we wanted to.
“But it was nice to see the people who came out to help and the amount of money that they were able to put forth. We had some people come up there and just empty their change trays into the boot. It was fun.”
It was also good for the department, Edwards said.
“I enjoyed just being with the crew and being out in public and getting to know the people,” he said. “It was a good opportunity for our faces to become more familiar with the public. A lot of times many people don’t see us unless we are in an emergency situation, so that was good.”
Jason Vann, another firefighter who went out, said it had been a few years since they had done a fundraiser for the MDA. But it was something they wanted to get back into.
“When you go to the camps, and you see some of the disabled children do some of the smallest things that we take for granted, like swim in a swimming pool and many other things, it really makes you feel proud for what you do here,” he said. “It is always important to try and lend a helping hand.”
Of course, it’s not always easy.
“We still had to be readily available for any emergency,” he said. “But it worked out good, and we didn’t get too many interruptions. It was all worth it.”
Andrea Shaver, executive director for MDA, said this year was the 50th anniversary of MDA working with the International Association of Fire Fighters, so they wanted it to be big.
In doing so, they reached out to some fire departments that had not been involved in a few years, including Franklin.
“They were already interested in coming back on board and helping us,” Shaver said. “And that’s good because the local money they raise stays in the local community to support children and adults with neural and muscular diseases.”
The money goes to support the local summer camp, which is in Wakefield. It will also help local families with clinic expenses. While the closest clinics are in Norfolk at Virginia Heart Hospital for adults and for children at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Shaver said that any of the nine clinics supported around the state could be utilized.
What they pay for is helping folks meet all of the specialists they might need to see in one visit, rather than 5-10 appointments. And if families can’t cover the cost of the visit, the MDA will assist.
“It’s big; one, on a financial level; and even more important than that is the convenience of going to one instead of having a bunch of appointments to meet their needs,” Shaver said. “It is especially a huge advantage for folks with mobility diseases that makes getting out of the house very difficult.”
A total of $28.4 million was raised by firefighters across the country to support MDA, Shaver said. There are 43 types of diseases in the muscular dystrophy umbrella, and MDA also supports research for ALS, which is a terminal disease better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.