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Lathrop-Manteca firefighters fill boot for MDA
Fire engineer Jeff Parker of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District smiles after receiving a Fill the Boot donation from a stopped motorist at the Louise Avenue and Harlan Road intersection Saturday. Proceeds from the fund-raising effort will be presented during the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin
LATHROP - The firefighters did not even need to ask for donations. Motorists at the intersection of Louise Avenue and Harlan Road in Lathrop kept the 10 volunteers from the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District constantly on their toes with their donations from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Saturday.

The event was the firefighters’ annual Fill the Boot fund-raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Money raised from the effort will be presented at the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon.

“I think we’re doing fine,” said fire engineer Jeff Parker as he dumped the contents of his boot in a large box under a makeshift canopy at the intersection’s northwest corner where MDA fund-raising coordinator Jeana Granico was helping by sorting the bills and coins collected by the firefighters.

Granico said the proceeds from Saturday’s efforts will be presented to the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the annual Jerry Lewis MDA telethon. The presentation will be made during the live airing of the telethon at the television station in Sacramento.

Granico also explained that all the money collected by the firefighters in the area “stays local, so it’s going to help people here in Manteca” affected by the disease.

This means area muscular dystrophy patients can go to the clinic at the University of California at Davis Medical Center “free of cost to them,” she said.

“We provide repairs to wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices,” Granico said.

“We also do support group at the clinic,” plus provide flu shots free of charge to them because the disease makes them susceptible to flu-related infections, Granico explained.

In addition to the above services, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with the help of money raised by fund-raisers such as the firefighters’ Fill the Boot, sends kids with muscular dystrophy each year to Sly Park in Pollock Pines where they can enjoy a whole week of summer camp, Granico said. At these summer camps, each camper is provided with a counselor to assist them.

The firefighters’ Fill the Boot fund-raisers are held in different communities at different times of the year, Granico said. On Saturday, for example, firefighters in Manteca, Lodi, Mokelumne Hill and Lathrop were conducting the event.

“We do them throughout the year. Some are done during the spring. We’ll do more in the fall, in September and October,” said Granico who serves as fund-raising coordinator for the MDA area from Merced to Butte County.