Thomasville- The Thomasville Fire Department is planning its annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive.
All of the proceeds from the event go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The department won the "Rookie of the Year Award" as newcomer to the fundraiser in 2003. Last year, it was a top contributor again.
As Thomasville firefighter Derek Knight goes about his daily duties, there's always one thing on his mind. "Helping out the community," he says. That's why he's the co-chairman of the TFD's annual muscular dystrophy boot drive. The department has gotten to know several local kids who have the disease. "We show them around the station. We cook them supper, show them the fire truck, just make them a fireman for the day," says Knight.
The boot drive is an important fundraiser for both the department and the MDA. But firefighters stress that they never pressure people for donations. "We'll take whatever they give us. They'll empty ashtrays, dig under the seats. Just whatever," says Knight.
Last year, the Thomasville Fire Department raised $25,000 for the MDA. That's the highest amount in their grouping. They've set a goal for this year as well. But they're keeping it under wraps because of a little friendly competition. "We're competing with Tallahassee. They challenged us last year. We beat them last year. And we're going for it again this year," says Knight.
A little competition to raise the bar, when raising money for a good cause. A firefighter trains day in and day out to save lives. "We'll normally have anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of training a day," says Lieutenant Scott Suber. But sometimes those lives are saved with commitment instead of equipment. "We make the commitment that if it rains, we're going to stand in the rain. We're going to do whatever it takes to help out MDA and the community," says Knight. It's that kind of dedication that makes the TFD a top contributor year after year.
The boot drive kicks-off on September first. But if you'd like to make a donation before that, the department has an account at Commercial Bank called MDA. Muscular dystrophy affects more than one-million Americans.