PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 21, 2014

MDA Fill the Boot drive kicks off Friday

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince contributed the first dollar Tuesday for the annual Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Port Arthur’s Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 397, along with the mayor and a representative from MDA, gathered for a special ceremony at Fire Station 1 Tuesday to kick off the annual campaign.

The ceremoney also marked a 60-year partnership between the local firefighters union and MDA.

On three Fridays — March 21, April 11 and May 2 — local firefighters will fan out throughout the city collecting donations for MDA with their familiar Fil the Boot.

Port Arthur firefighters raised more than $15,000 for MDA last year, and hope to exceed that figure this year, Perry Manuel, president of IAFF Local 397, said.

“Throughout 2014 MDA and firefighters are celebrating 60 years of proud partnership, joined together in the fight against life-threatening muscle disease, Freeman said. “Firefighters do more for MDA and  the famililes we serve than any other group.”

Money raised will benefit the MDA Summer Camp For All in Burton, Texas, as well as annual repairs  for durable medical equipment, flu shots and research.

Cost of research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy is $65 per minute, Foreman said, adding that MDA is one of the few non-profits that shares research with other groups.

Prince acknowledged her appreciation for the local firefighters.

“From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of (acting city manager) John Comeaux, I thank you for the work you are doing,” Prince said. “You have given so much hope for families fighting muscular dystrophy disease.”

Manuel said the Port Arthur firefighters enjoy collecting donations every year, especially since the disease has affected so many, including Texas firefighters.

“We take it personally and want to give back to the community each year,” Manuel said.

MDA and IAFF joined forces in 1954, forming a partnership committed to saving lives.

In addition to Fill the Boots, firefighters also spend countless hours each year volunteering at MDA summer camp. There, thousands of children with muscle disease experience a week of barrier-free fun while gaining confidence and independence.

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