Ardmore firefighters to 'Fill the Boot' virtually this year

Sierra Rains
Firefighter boots

For the past 66 years, firefighters across the nation have taken to busy intersections to fill their boots with funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year, however, the Fill the Boot campaign is being conducted virtually for the safety of firefighters and their communities. Donations will be collected online, where individuals can choose from several teams of firefighters to support and then share the link so others can donate.

Donations collected will help meet an urgent need for MDA’s Frontline COVID-19 Emergency Fund to continue services for more than 250,000 people living with neuromuscular diseases across the country. 

Ardmore Fire Department Capt. Joey Allen has been participating in the Fill the Boot fundraiser locally every year since 2007, and will be heading the campaign this year. Traditionally, the department has been one of the leading fundraisers, with a total of $8,733 collected last year. 

“We’re public servants and that’s what we do. We like to serve our community and this is just one other avenue that we take,” Allen said. “We’re really proud to do it, it’s a really good cause. We take a lot of pride in the amount that we raise every year.” 

Ardmore firefighters have seen the impact of degenerative muscular diseases firsthand. Two fire department families have been affected by degenerative muscular disease, with one firefighter retiring last year due to the disease. 

The Muscular Dystrophy Association provides vital resources to those suffering from degenerative muscular diseases, and has helped local families by providing them with medical equipment at no cost and with information through their doctor’s offices. 

Though firefighters won’t be able to go out to the busy intersections along Commerce Street this year, Allen said they will be virtually drumming up support for the fundraiser in the coming weeks. 

Their goal for this year is at least $2,800, and any amount of donation is appreciated. “That’s what we’re going to strive for,” Allen said. Fundraising will last till the end of the year, and may be extended into 2021. Nationally, firefighters have already raised a collective total of over $657,000 for MDA. 

Ardmore community members can watch for a production put on by a team of firefighters raising awareness for the fundraiser sometime between now and the middle of October. Allen said the link for the Ardmore team donation page will be posted along with the production on the city’s website and Facebook page. 

Individuals can visit to donate to the MDA organization and find different teams of firefighters raising money for the organization. 

“The fire department as a whole and the MDA have been in partnership for close to 60 years and it just goes hand in hand,” Allen said. “We’re going to try to keep the torch and continue the cause, and then hopefully next year it will get back to the way it was.”