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Three-day campaign for MDA aims to fill firefighters' boots with cash

Brainerd firefighters will take their boots to the streets to join the fight in helping children and adults with muscular dystrophy and other muscle diseases.

Full-time and paid-on-call firefighters, who will be in their fire gear and neon safety vests, will again take part in the three-day Fill the Boot campaign that raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). MDA is the world’s leading nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases.

Firefighters will hold out retired fire boots, asking motorists driving by to put money in the boot to support the MDA. The Fill the Boot campaign will be conducted from 2-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday on Washington Street and Northwest Fourth Street in Brainerd, at the stoplight intersection at Walgreens.

Kurt Doree, a full-time Brainerd firefighter since 2004 and chair of the Fill the Boot campaign, said Brainerd firefighters work hard each year on getting community members to “fill the boot” with donations.

Proceeds from the campaign go directly to the MDA, but support children with a muscular disease in the Brainerd lakes area. Money will support programs for research, specialized health care services and day-to-day support. Proceeds also will send children affected by muscular dystrophy and related muscle diseases to a MDA summer camp at Camp True Friends in Maple Lake.

“We are proud this is our fourth year doing the Fill the Boot campaign,” Doree said. “We need the community’s continued support to make this campaign a success in helping the MDA assist children and adults with muscular dystrophy and other muscle diseases.

“It makes us feel good that we can do our small part to help with the day-to-day expenses, such as wheel chairs and crutches helping children go to day camp.”

The Brainerd Fire Department began taking part in the Fill the Boot campaign after the full-time equipment operators joined the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in 2009. The IAFF is MDA’s largest national sponsor that fuels MDA’s mission to find treatments and cures for life-threatening muscle diseases. Firefighters across the country participate in the campaign.

Brainerd firefighters have collected about $30,000 since they began the Fill the Boot campaign in 2011.

“Throughout 2014, MDA and firefighters are celebrating 60 years of proud partnership, joined together in the fight against life-threatening muscle disease,” Jessy Stanton, Fill the Boot fundraising coordinator, said in a press release. “Firefighters in the Brainerd area do more for MDA and the families we serve than any other group, dedicating countless hours of their time every year participating in the Fill the Boot drives and the MDA summer camps. We’re grateful for the support of these inspiring, selfless individuals who have made a profound impact on our families’ health, well-being and quality of life.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at