Once again the Kenai Peninsula Community showed their appreciation to their firefighters and their generosity to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) find cures to neuromuscular diseases and help Alaskan families stricken with them. "We are always amazed at the outpouring showed by our community during the Labor Day Fill the Boot campaign," said Central Emergency Services (CES) Fire Marshall Gary Hale. "We were a little skeptical starting out, we set a lofty goal of $19,000, but the outpouring from the community was tremendous and our off duty CES personnel and their friends and families turned out to help us Saturday rather than taking their time off and when the final penny was counted it totaled $20, 212.00 dollars. That means that since we started the Fill the Boot drive 17 years ago your CES volunteers and our local community has raised over a quarter of a million dollars or $255,212.00 to be exact that has all been used by MDA here in Alaska for Alaskans," reported Gary Hale.
According to Hale this year's collection was the second highest raised in the 17 year history of the event. This year's telethon shortened from 21 to 6 hours and minus Jerry Lewis raised a whopping $61.5 million dollars. Local stations such as KTUU in Anchorage were actually given more time to cover local MDA activities. During one break Adam Freestone, former Kenai Peninsula resident and past MDA poster child commented when hearing that research has discovered a cure in mice for a neurological disorder, "I wish I was a mouse!" "The new era of prime-time Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethons has started...This is the biggest Telethon achievement since 2008, when the global recession began," stated the MDA. Hale says that there is exciting news on the horizon regarding cures, "Research is showing that there may be an end for certain disorders and we are very hopeful that we are seeing progress and would like remind folks that we collect for MDA all year long not just during the Labor Day weekend. Make a Muscle make a Difference was our slogan this year so any time you want to make a contribution to MDA you can drop it off at the CES station in Soldotna or any of our satellite stations or any fire station on the Kenai Peninsula for that matter and we will get it to MDA for Jerry's Kids."