Mount Airy’s firefighters do more than respond to blazes and medical calls — they also will be involved in a campaign to send children with muscular dystrophy to camp.
This will be evident on the streets of Mount Airy this weekend during the Autumn Leaves Festival, when festival-goers have the opportunity to help those stricken by a group of diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and hamper locomotion.
City firefighters will continue an annual “Fill the Boot” campaign that involves soliciting money to aid victims of muscular dystrophy and their families. They will man tent stations at each end of North Main Street, one located in front of the Mount Airy Post Office and the other in the parking lot of the shopping center containing the Kyoto Japanese restaurant on Independence Boulevard.
The Mount Airy Fire Department has been involved in the annual “Fill the Boot” effort for at least 10 years, supporting muscular dystrophy research and providing direct aid to victims and caregivers.
Last year, city fire personnel raised nearly $5,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association which was targeted for clinic services, flu shots, leg braces, summer camp fees and educational support for caregivers, among other uses.
Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said this year, the money given by the public will be tailored to a specific need: sending kids suffering from the disease to camp.
The goal for this weekend’s campaign is generating enough funds to send 80 children to camp this summer, according to Poindexter.
In addition to devoting their time during the Autumn Leaves Festival, city firefighters are planning to serve as camp volunteers.
Poindexter said 77 percent of all money raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association goes to children stricken by the disease.
About 20 fire department members participated in the 2011 “Fill The Boot” campaign during the festival.
Sparky the Fire Dog (actually a firefighter dressed as a safety-minded canine) and Freddie the Fire Truck, a remote-controlled robot vehicle that speaks, helped draw attention to the campaign along with fire personnel roaming the street wearing vests.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.