This weekend (May 25th- 27th) from 10am-5pm at Publix, you'll have a chance to meet some of St. Johns County's bravest men and women, and help a great cause at the same time.
The annual "Fill The Boot" fundraiser will be taking place at all St. Johns County Publix locations, raising money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
"Firefighters are a traditional bunch," said Lt. Matthew Hooker of St. Johns County Fire Rescue, who's been responsible for heading up their MDA efforts since 2012. "Some of our brothers in FDNY (New York Fire Department) started going door to door in 1954 to collect money for a child with a form of Muscular Dystrophy. It spread and became THE big cause shared by firefighters around the nation, led by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF - Firefighters Union). MDA and the IAFF have been working together for 64 years now."
MDA covers the 9 recognized types of Muscular Dystrophy and several other neuromuscular diseases, including ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), the same condition that Stephen Hawking lived with for decades.
The first Fill the Boot campaign took place in Massachusetts in 1954 and raised $5,000. In 2014, $26.8 million was raised by the combined effort of more than 100,000 fire fighters. That money is fighting to give kids and adults their every day freedoms back-- the freedom to walk, talk, hug someone you love and even to breathe.
"One big point I'd really like to get out to your audience is how much of the money they donate to us STAYS LOCAL. We use the funds we raise to aid research and send local MDA kids to summer camp. This is, literally, the only time of the year that they just get to be kids, not sick KIDS." Noted Hooker.
COUNTY COMMISSION PROCLAMATION:
St. Johns County Local #3865 Fill the Boot® Proclamation
Whereas, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters of Local #3865 are the prime example of public service and sacrifice, displaying the nobility to protect the citizens of our community every day; and
Whereas, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters of Local #3865 are highly dedicated and trained individuals who demonstrate American ideals, the ultimate standard of character and courage in the face of danger; and
Whereas, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters of Local # 3865 selflessly contribute their time and energy fighting for kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases that severely limit muscle strength and mobility by Filling the Boot each year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA); and
Whereas, in the past 13 years, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters of Local # 3865 has raised more than $251,000 for MDA through the annual Fill the Boot campaign; and
Whereas, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters of Local # 3865 endless service to MDA has given so much hope for families fighting life-threatening muscle diseases;
Now therefore, we, The Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County do hereby proclaim May 25th through May 27th as St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Professional Fire Fighters Local #3865 “Fill the Boot Days.”