Members of the Clinton Fire Department were hoping to beat last year’s total raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the “Fill the Boot” drive held earlier this week. While they didn’t surpass their goal, officials are still deeming the effort a huge success.
More than 20 firefighters participated in the drive Oct. 19-21, held at all entrances to Sampson Crossing shopping Center on N.C. 24. The firemen worked during the department’s three shifts and collected a total of almost $8,400, which is down from last year’s $12,000 total.
Officials say they feel this year’s total was lower because crew members were called out to four different calls during Tuesday’s shifts.
According to Joshua Coombs, organizer of the event, all proceeds from the drive benefit families who are dealing with a child or adult affected by muscle disease throughout Clinton and Sampson County.
Coombs said there are more than 200 families in Sampson County who fight this daily battle.
“The drive went exceptionally well,” Coombs said. “We are very appreciative to all those who participated and donated in some way.”
Clinton Fire Department chief Scott Phillips, who praised Coombs and others for their efforts, called the three-day event an “outstanding effort.”
“I’m tickled to death,” Phillips said. “I’m honored MDA let us be a part of a great campaign and I’m glad people in the community reached into their pockets and gave toward helping find a cure for these terrible diseases.”
Phillips said the best part of the campaign — the funds stay local.
“We’re helping each other,” Phillips said. “We’re helping our neighbors.”
Funds raised through the 2014 Clinton Fire Department “Fill the Boot” campaign will help support MDA’s programs of worldwide research, specialized health care services and day-to-day support. Among a plethora of programs, funds help send children affected by muscular dystrophy and related muscle diseases to a weeklong MDA summer camp at Camp Hanes in King, N.C.
“This helps kids attend the camp where they can feel like a normal kid for one week,” Coombs said. “They have a chance to get out and experience a normal life.”
MDA is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of anyone with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures, providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide and rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement.