Fill this boot
The Cape Coral fire union will once again be asking motorists to donate whatever they can this weekend during the 2012 MDA Boot Drive.
Starting Friday, the Cape Coral Professional Firefighters Local 2424 will stake out about a dozen major intersections in the Cape to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The fund-raiser continues to Sunday.
“It’s one of our prized organizations that we work with,” union President Brendan Fonock said. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great organization.”
The International Association of Firefighters and MDA have been working together since 1954. According to Fonock, the Cape group has been taking part in the annual boot drive since the group’s inception – about 35 years.
Money raised will help fund research and summer camps, and will serve as financial assistance for families affected by muscular diseases. There are 43 neuromuscular diseases covered by the MDA, like Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“We look forward to raising as much money and hitting our goal,” he said.
Local 2424 hopes to reach a goal of $30,000 in donations this year.
Last year, the group brought in just over $13,000.
“This is a little bit higher,” Fonock said, adding that the adjustment is based on the fact that firefighters on duty can take part for the first time ever.
In the past, off-duty firefighters had to volunteer their time. This year, those on duty will be stationed with a truck at an intersection, most likely just during rush hour, so they can collect donations while waiting on calls.
“This helps a lot with trying to get guys out there,” he said. “We’ll be able to cover a lot more intersections.”
Fonock added that there will be no change to service for residents. If a call comes in, the on-duty firefighters will hop on the truck and go. He noted that the intersections were chosen because of their location to the fire stations.
“It’s certainly going to work the same way it has in the past,” Fonock said.
Members of the union will also have a tent set up Saturday at Bike Night.
“We’ve never collected at Bike Night,” he said. “It’s another opportunity.”
This year, Local 2424 is dedicating the drive to firefighter Kelly Crush of Texas, who passed away a few weeks ago from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.
According to Fonock, Crush was as a spokesman for MDA in his last years.
On Thursday, Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan will present a proclamation for the effort. Fonock noted that a Cape girl who has a muscular disease will be present.
The MDA does not receive funding from local, state or federal governments, nor does it seek out or receive fees for its services, according to Fonock.
“We’ve been very close to $30,000 in the past,” he said of the union’s goal. “We think that it’s an achievable goal based on the population, based on how many people we’ll have out there.”