Port Arthur firefighters filling boots with cash for charity

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Those traveling through Port Arthur this month should keep a little extra cash on them as members of the Port Arthur Fire Department hit the streets to raise money for charity.

The annual Fill the Boot program benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association began Saturday and runs through March.

“It helps kids go to camp,” said Larry Pelaez. “What we do is we mainly provide the funds for these children to go to these camps and experience things normal kids get to go to.”

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Firefighters will be in multiple locations around the city throughout the month.

Pelaez said they typically stand at the intersections of Gulfway Drive and Twin City Highway, Gulfway Drive and Memorial Drive, and Memorial Drive and FM 365.

How much they collect varies.

“It depends on how generous people are,” Pelaez said. “We have some days when we only get about $1,500, and days like (March 11) we almost broke $3,500.”

Firefighters have been participating in Fill the Boat since 1954.

“The partnership between MDA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) began when the IAFF signed a proclamation designating MDA as its charity of choice, vowing to continue raising awareness and funds to ensure effective treatments and therapies are found,” according to information from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Pelaez said this year the Port Arthur Fire Department is planning to add a second drive in October.