Firefighters continue 'fill the boot' tradition
WTOP's Kathy Stewart reports
WASHINGTON - With boots in hand, Fairfax County firefighters are continuing a long-standing Labor Day weekend tradition.
They're collecting money for their annual "Fill the Boot" collection, a drive that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Fairfax County firefighters have a history of success. Last year, they raised nearly $569,000 — the most ever collected in the drive's 58-year history nationwide. They've also raised the most money for four of the last seven years.
Joel Kobersteen, Fairfax Fill the Boot coordinator, tells WTOP that all of the money collected stays in the D.C. area.
"It benefits area residents with such things as the annual MDA Summer Camp in Leonardtown, Md., a "loaner closet" of durable medical supplies, MDA clinics at Children's National Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital and research to fund advances," Kobersteen said.
In Mt. Vernon Saturday morning, Victoria Callow, a firefighter and paramedic with the Fairfax County Fire Station 24 in Woodlawn, joins other firefighters at her station to collect money.
"We're out here doing it, but if it weren't for your generosity we wouldn't be able to do this," Callow tells a couple who stopped to donate.
The concept for the Fill the Boot campaign began in the early 1950's, when a Boston firefighter wanted to raise money for his neighbor, who suffered from a neuromuscular disease, Kobersteen said.
The firefighter filled a can with money collected from the area's fire stations. Since 1954, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union that represents public safety personnel, has donated more than $500 million for MDA.
WTOP's Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.