The Fill the Boot campaign was originally started by firefighters in 1954 and the concept was simple — to use the boots they wore to give hope to sufferers of Muscular Dystrophy.
For 60 years, the campaign has been a driving force in not only Muscular Dystrophy awareness, but in helping to fund clinical research and to improving the quality of life of sufferers of the crippling disease that mostly affects children.
The national campaign kicks off in Lincoln County on Aug. 9, when members of the Boger City, Denver, Lincolnton and North 321 fire departments will be located around some of the county’s busiest roadways, taking donations.
The money that is raised nationwide every year goes to assist with research, funding clinical visits and therapy sessions and sponsoring children to attend a summer camp. During the 2013 campaign, firefighters across Lincoln County raised a total of $11,234. That contribution funded 173 minutes of clinical research, sent 14 kids to the MDA summer camp, funded 37 clinical visits and 74 therapy sessions. The collective goal for all of the Lincoln County firefighters participating in the campaign is $15,000. That $15,000 figure is estimated to fund 231 minutes of research, send 18 kids to MDA summer camp, fund 50 clinical visits and provide 100 therapy sessions.
While the heart behind the campaign is true, there is a deeper, more profound reason why the Fill the Boot drive is personal to not only local firefighters, but to all residents of Lincoln County. This year, the MDA Fill the Boot campaign is dedicated to and in loving memory of Cameron and Christopher Hallman. The sons of retired Boger City Fire Department Chief Randy Hallman, the brothers lost their battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy within eight months of each other. A long-time supporter of the MDA, Randy and Ann Hallman were a driving force in bringing the Fill the Boot Campaign to Lincoln County, and continue to raise awareness for the cause.
The assistant chief of the Boger City Fire Department, Bryan Lynch, is looking forward to this year’s campaign and seeing the good that the local fire departments and the community can do with their efforts and their donations.
“We care about it a lot because we’ve seen it first hand,” Lynch said.
Donations can be made wherever citizens see firefighters in the community with their boots on Aug. 9. Locations may include Wal-Mart in both Lincolnton and Denver, at the corner of Old Highway 16 and Highway 73, at Lowes in Lincolnton, and the intersection of Campground Road and Highway 16. Online donations are accepted year-round and can be made by visiting www.mda.org.