- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No fewer than 1,700 current and retired firefighters, paramedics and associated personnel from Fairfax County are taking to the streets Friday through Monday on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It’s time for the 52nd annual Fill-the-Boot campaign, and Fairfax’s International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2068 will be joining thousands of fire departments across the country to make the appeal.

The firefighters’ method is unusual and hard for motorists to miss: The standard practice is to collect donations at prime intersections, asking drivers to put money into firefighters’ boots.

Spokeswoman Jaime Lareau for the Greater Washington MDA says trucks will be parked nearby so the crews from separate shifts can be ready to move off on a call if they are needed during their time in the street.

Fairfax County is credited with raising a national record of $536,000 in four days last year. By adding a day this year, the firefighters hope to increase the sum. Other crews will be out doing similar tasks in Loudoun and Montgomery counties as well as in the District.

The tradition began in 1954 when a Boston man whose son had muscular dystrophy couldn’t afford the necessary equipment, such as a wheelchair. A firefighter friend of the family got the idea, and since then the effort has been held in conjunction with the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

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