CES Capt. Dick Kapp's boot runs over as firefighters raise $21 K for MDA at the "Y" in Soldotna.
Motivated by a record breaking Fill the Boot for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) campaign last year in which $18,000 was collected Central Emergency Services firefighters once again spent Friday and Saturday of their Labor Day Weekend at the “Y” intersection in Soldotna attempting to raise just one dollar more than they did last year. “That was an increase of $1,500 over the previous record setting year. Our firefighters were awesome last year and the community responded with an outpouring of their generosity, so our goal was to beat that record by just a hair because last year when I was unable to be here the guys really surprised me,” said MDA Coordinator and CES Fire Marshall Gary Hale, aka Capt. Burn-ee the clown. “They certainly put the pressure on Capt. Burn-ee, but with the help of CES employees, family members, and friends, the community came through for Jerry’s Kids and the old Captain & Edith and we were able to collect an overwhelming $21,000 in just two days, and thanks to the generosity of this community those funds will be used to help kids in Alaska with neuromuscular disease go to summer camp and get assistance from MDA,” announced Hale.
In Alaska it costs about $800 to send one child with MD to camp at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak. According to camp director Alisha Silverstein costs in Alaska are above the national average of $650 per child because of the number of children that must be flown in from around the state to attend. Silverstein says MDA of Alaska contacts all children between ages 6 to 21 that are known to have MD or similar neuromuscular diseases to see if they can come to camp.
According to Hale contributions came from people across the Peninsula traveling for the holiday and visitors from as far away as Anchorage and Fairbanks, “Kids were emptying their piggy banks, teens dumped cups filled to the brim with change, people emptied their ashtrays filled with coins, and some folks dropped off $100 checks that they had pre-written, we even collected a wedding ring by mistake that was in some ones ashtray, but it was recovered and returned later that day.”
Over the last 13 years CES has raised over $169,000 through the Fill the Boot campaign to assist Alaskans stricken with muscular disorders through MDA. “We’ve truly bonded with our local families such as the Freestones over the years and it makes us feel good knowing through the Fill the Boot Campaign firefighters throughout the state of Alaska were responsible for raising more than half of the total $315,000 raised during the 2007 MDA KTUU telethon, and of all the fire departments that participated across Alaska, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, CES volunteers collected the second highest amount, which again speaks to the great generosity of this community,” added Hale. In a public service announcement CES Chief Chris Mokracek said, “Once again residents of the Kenai Peninsula have shown their giving and caring support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
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