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Firefighters to 'Fill the Boot' for MDA

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

Morrow and Forest Park firefighters will hold "Fill-the-Boot" fund-raisers at various locations this Thursday through Saturday, to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Morrow firefighters will collect for MDA Aug. 27-29, from 10 a.m., until 4 p.m., at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 6065 Jonesboro Rd. in Morrow, according to Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen.

The Forest Park drive will take place this Thursday through Saturday, from 9 a.m., until 3 p.m., at three Forest Park locations: the Atlanta State Farmers Market, at 16 Forest Pkwy; the Wholesale Food Outlet at 4855 Jonesboro Rd.; and the Food Depot store at 792 Morrow Rd., according to Major David Halcome, of the Forest Park Fire Department.

"Usually, the month of August is when we do most of the boot drives in Georgia," said Chase Connolly, MDA executive director for the Atlanta and middle Georgia areas.

Proceeds collected during the drives will aid local children and adults living with neuromuscular diseases, by providing wheelchairs, leg braces, clinic visits, support groups, and a chance for children to attend the local MDA Summer Camp in Rutledge, Ga., according to Connolly.

"The Fill-the-Boot drive actually started in the 1950's," said Connolly. "That's when MDA started fund-raising with fire departments across the United States, so it's a tradition.

"All the money raised locally stays here to help 2,200 families in metro Atlanta," she said.

"It's a great cause, and an easy way for us to collect money, and give it to the MDA foundation," said Herendeen. "The firefighters do have a great time doing this," he said. "They get to meet and greet the public.

"We've always had a great response from people. Even during these economic times, people seem to open up their hearts and their wallets," said Herendeen.

"It really means a great deal to me that this is going to be their [Morrow Fire Department] fifth year of participation," said Connolly. "So far, they've raised $10,000 in the past four years for MDA," she said.

Connolly said this will be the sixth year that the Forest Park Fire Department will participate in the boot drive. "Over the past five years, they [Forest Park firefighters] have raised 18,000 for us," she said.

Connolly said, in addition to giving donations during the boot drives, residents can help MDA by giving of their time. "We always need help volunteering, especially with our telethon that's coming up ... Sept. 6th and 7th," she said.

For more information about volunteering, or how to donate to MDA, contact Chase Connolly at (770) 939-3636.