Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal
Local firefighters and association members reached their goal and set back-to-back records for raising more than $12,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Association during the Fill-the-Boot campaign.
"We broke our record by $2,600," said coordinator Lt. Pat Canales with the Alice Fire Department. "We succeeded because the citizens of Alice were generous. They were putting five, 10 and 20s…a lot of people were putting in big bills."
About two dozen Local 4102 Firefighters Association members and firefighters with the Alice Fire Department and Assistant City Manager Sara Wilson tolerated the sun and humidity over the three-day event.
They collected $12,608.28 on Texas Boulevard and Main Street during the 18-hour event. Last year, they raised $10,000, a record-breaking collection for the first time, and the group reached its goal of $12,000 this year, which broke last year's record.
Also soliciting for donations was the firefighters' Dalmatian mascot, "Sparky."
The group overtook the four corners of the intersection from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
For more than 50 years, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Muscular Dystrophy Association have joined forces. The local members have supported the cause for the last seven years to host lock-ups and MDA summer camps for children with neuromuscular diseases.
The money collected from motorists dropping donations into firefighter boots during the street side campaign will help support local MDA services and research programs for 43 genetic diseases. The local chapter helps more than 800 client families with equipment such as wheelchairs and braces and assists with medical care, all free to the client.
Across the nation, Fill-the-Boot campaigns have raised more than $240 million for MDA's fight against the diseases since 1954.
The campaign works with clients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrigh's disease, myasthenia gravis, spinal muscular atrophies, Friedreich's ataxia and other neuromuscular diseases.
Canales said they hope to continue the trend each year.
"We would like to give thanks to the citizens of Alice who gave generously and helped us meet our goal," he said.