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VRFA Firefighters Fill the Boot to Fight Muscular Dystrophy

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If you were by the Outlet Collection this Saturday you may have noticed firefighters requesting folks to help “Fill the Boot!” Don’t worry, the Valley Regional Fire Authority is not strapped for cash. This weekend was the annual Fill the Boot fundraiser supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

A group of firefighters and volunteers stand against a white pickup holding Fill the Boot signs and firefighter boots
Fill the Boot volunteers after collecting donations Saturday, October 15 | Dean McAuley

Held annually since 1954 the Fill the Boot campaign raises money for local MDA chapters. This weekend was the first year back collecting donations for the IAFF Local 1352 Valley Professional Firefighters since 2019 (stupid pandemic).

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As the MDA’s largest national partner, the IAFF has raised more than $607 million throughout the life of the Fill the Boot program. The money raised is used to help save and improve the lives of those with muscle-debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“We are happy to serve [local families] impacted by Muscular Diseases,” said event organizer and VRFA Deputy Fire Marshal Dean McAuley. “It’s been an honor to be doing this event throughout my fire service career.”

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Firefighters not only organize Fill the Boot drives but also volunteer their time.  “In addition to going to research, some of the money goes to support a summer camp experience for kids with muscular dystrophy. There is a “firefighter day” and some of our members have gone up to help and participate in activities with the campers,” said Colton Fogelberg, Valley Professional Firefighters IAFF 1352 Communications Director. “It is awesome to go out there and see how happy these kids are at summer camp. It is among the highlights of the year for a lot of these kids.”

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A firefighter helmet is surrounded by six firefighter boots filled with cash
Donations from the 2022 Valley Professional Firefighters IAFF 1352 Fill the Boot | Dean McCauley

You can still donate if you missed the firefighters on Saturday! Click the link below or scan the QRC code to donate online: Valley Regional WA Firefighters L1352A QRC code

Again, all donations received go directly to the local Muscular Dystrophy Association chapter.  None of the donations go toward funding for the firefighters, the fire department, or the local IAFF.

Editor’s Note

I’d like to thank the IAFF for allowing me to join and everyone who donated. Don’t ask me why, but Fill the Boot has always been one of my favorite things. So, when in 2005 my dad passed away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) it meant just a little bit more. Saturday would have been dad’s 81st birthday. Being able to help collect donations for Fill the Boot on dad’s birthday was pretty freakin’ amazing (and apparently 81 is a pretty solid number for a donation, or so I hear.)

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A female (L) and male stand hugging shoulder to shoulder. The female holds a boot and the male holds a sign promoting fill the boot
Auburn Examiner Editor Elizabeth Miller and VRFA Deputy Fire Marshal Dean McAuley | Dean McAuley
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