Firefighters and area residents filled the boot
By Robin Scott
The annual “Fill the Boot” fundraising campaign undertaken by the nation’s firefighters was held in Dalhart on Labor Day Weekend, September 6th and 7th. The fundraiser creatively raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) during the weekend that Jerry Lewis holds his annual “Jerry’s Kids” telethon.
Members of the Dalhart Fire Department were seen at the intersection of Highway 54 and 87 holding a firefighter’s boot, which has become the icon for the annual event. Firefighter Sharlene Kimbrell with the Dalhart Fire Department headed the event this year.
Two-thirds of the fire department’s members and their families participated in the fundraiser, working on Sunday and Monday. The department has participated in the MDA Fill the Boot event for more than 15 years. Coordinators from the department are Robert Snider, Curtis Brown, Donnie Peterson and Sharlene Kimbrell.
The firefighters were out collecting donations on Sunday, September 6th from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Monday, Labor Day, the entire day and raised more than $6,000 for the charity.
All of the money collected was stuffed in firefighters’ boots by area residents. Although money is collected for MDA, it is used locally. Money from this year’s event will go toward the purchase of a lift for various uses at the camp in Canyon.
MDA provided t-shirts for firefighters and family members that volunteered at least two hours of services during the fundraiser. For each additional two hours worked by firefighters their name is placed in a raffle for the chance to win a grill from MDA. Kimbrell stated, “It’s a really good experience to be involved, not only did we to help these MDA patients, but we met all kinds of people in those two days.” She further noted, “It doesn’t matter if you give a penny or a hundred pennies, your donation is so appreciated by everyone.”
All of the businesses at the intersection where the firefighters accepted donations offered the use of their property, and some even provided food and drinks for the firefighters and their families.
Kimbrell noted, “This isn’t an easy job. There are many coins to be counted. People literally clean out there pockets, cups, jars, consoles and ashtrays to donate money for this cause.” The experience was made even more enjoyable by Firefighter DJ Jerry Turner who volunteered his time during the event playing music and DJ’ing. Kimbrell commented, “He kept up morale in those final hard hours.”
The success of the event is made possible not only by the firefighters and their families, but also by the generosity of local businesses and the people who donated their money. Kimbrell stated, “It puts a smile on my face to see such generosity from our fellow man.” She also stated, “I don’t want to leave any of my fellowfire fighters out that helped in any way on Fill The Boot this year, so I’m not going to mention names. We couldn’t have done it without any one of them.”