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Red Wing firefighters ask locals to Fill the Boot

Next week, Red Wing firefighters will ask local residents to fill their shoes. But they won't be battling flames or giving medical care.

The department is participating in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Fill the Boot fundraiser. In the late afternoon and early evening Aug. 28, 29 and 30, firefighters will take to the streets of Red Wing with boots ready to be filled with donations for the organization.

The fundraiser is typically one of the biggest for the MDA, Jack Pipkin, director of the association, said. "It's amazing to see how supportive people are of this," he said of other communities that have done the fundraiser.

It's the first time the Red Wing Fire Department is launching the campaign, although it has participated in other MDA events.

The funds go toward providing services such as support groups, health care, equipment, summer camp and research to families affected by muscular dystrophy. There are 30 such people in the area, nine in Red Wing, Pipkin said.

"We know the money we raise will definitely make a difference in the lives of people affected by neuromuscular diseases in getting the care they need," Red Wing firefighter and local Fill the Boot coordinator Matt Lenz said.

Lenz brought the idea to Red Wing after participating in the program in another city.

Firefighters across the country work with the MDA through the International Association of Fire Fighters, a partnership that started in 1954. They raise funds, mainly through Fill the Boot but also with other methods, and often volunteer at the camps for those suffering from muscular dystrophy.

Last year firefighters raised more than $27.1 million, mainly through the Fill the Boot, and more than $256,000 was raised in Minnesota.

"Fill the Boot is a good way for firefighters to be out in the community reminding residents that we are here, always ready to help," Lenz said.

Next week, the Red Wing firefighters will be on several intersections throughout the city. Those in cars who want to contribute can signal to the firefighters and fill the boot with donations.

"I think it should be a really good turnout," Pipkin said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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