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Firefighters Fill Boots for MDA

Firefighters in both Alexandria and Fairfax County are once again taking off their boots for "Jerry's Kids."

In their annual "Fill the Boot" campaign to collect funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, firefighters from both departments position themselves at key intersections soliciting motorists for funds with boots in hand. All donations go to the campaign that has become a national Labor Day weekend tradition.

Last weekend Alexandria firefighters were prominent at several intersections throughout the City on both Saturday and Sunday. The prime mover behind the local effort is the firefighters union, Local 2141.

"We usually get between 25 and 30 firefighters participating each year," said Chad Lallier, firefighter and Union vice president. This year those efforts paid off for a total of approximately $4,000 collected.

This weekend Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department personnel will be out in force. There are always several critical locations along Richmond Highway where firefighters from various stations in the Mount Vernon/Lee districts position themselves each year.

Their efforts were kicked off at a ceremony Monday evening at Station 30 in Merrifield with participation from Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and Fire Chief Michael Neuhard. Station 30 was the lead station in initiating the department's participation in the fund raising effort, according to department personnel.

"As a nationally recognized supporter of MDA, Fairfax County firefighters and paramedics, in conjunction with Local 2068 of the International Association of Firefighters will be asking local residents and visitors to support this important cause," said Lt. Mark D. Stone, public information officer.

"Last year the community's generosity allowed firefighters to collect $205,000. We hope to exceed last year's total this Labor day weekend," Stone said. "We will be recognized at some point over the weekend on the annual MDA telethon." Hosted by comedian/philanthropist Jerry Lewis, 2004 marks his 39th year in that role.