'Fill The Boot' Breaks Record With $98K (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

August 22, 2013 Updated Aug 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- For 16 years the Fort Wayne community has helped Fort Wayne Firefighters “Fill the Boot”, an annual campaign designed to raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). During this year’s three day effort (August 22-24), the community once again responded raising a record breaking $98,045.00.

Fort Wayne Firefighters have historically collected more donations than any other fire department in the state. This year, when the last penny was counted and the total was announced Randy Zion, Fort Wayne Fire Department Firefighter and IAFF Local 124 MDA Chairman was ecstatic but not surprised.

“Every year during the ‘Fill the Boot’ we are humbled by the generosity and support the community gives us during the campaign. We hope that each citizen who donates drives away with the same sense we have while we are collecting - when you work together the effort can and does make a difference. I would like to personally thank everyone for their efforts. This record breaking collection emphasises the continued dedication and commitment the Fort Wayne Firefighters and the community has toward MDA’s mission.”

Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of more than 30 genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscles used during voluntary movement. These disorders vary in age of onset, severity, and pattern of affected muscles. All forms of MD grow worse as muscles progressively degenerate and weaken. MDA leads the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases.

For 16 years, Fort Wayne Firefighters have collected in the area and continue to surpass any other department in the state in monetary donations.

In 2012, the Fort Wayne Firefighters collected $81,021.30. In 2011, Firefighters collected a record breaking $91,046.21. Money raised during the campaign supports local MDA clinics and research and funds services like neuromuscular disease support groups, medical equipment repair and summer camps for children.

Fort Wayne Firefighters enjoy this time of year because they have the chance to interact with many citizens of the community.

"Firefighters see first-hand the ownership the public has taken in this citywide campaign," adds Zion. "Often folks pull up to donate, and as they dump a large change canister in our boot, they tell us they have been collecting all year. The 'Fill the Boot' campaign is a reminder to both the fire department members and the community, when you work together, the effort does make a difference."

For more information about FWFD's "Fill the Boot" campaign please contact Randy Zion at 260.438.8233 or Stacey Fleming at 260.427.1102.

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