Fighting destructive blazes is what firefighters are widely known for. But one day in April, those in the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District step out of their regular jobs and into a busy intersection of the city to help in another life-threatening battle — raising money for Muscular Dystrophy Association's search for cure.
For five hours on Friday, several of them on their day off stood on the street corners of the Louise Avenue and Harlan Road intersection in Lathrop holding a firefighter's boot to collect donations from motorists waiting for the lights to turn. This is something the firefighters have been doing for more than a dozen years. Every penny they collect goes to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with the money used to help in the research for a cure to this devastating disease.
Their efforts have not been lost on those in the MDA. In fact, during their Friday fund-raising run, MDA representative Lorisa Nelson was there as an unofficial cheerleader.
Last year alone, the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District's Fill the Boot effort raised $13,000 which broke their own fund-raising record. Every penny was presented to MDA.
Joining the firefighters in their philanthropic work on their
day off were family members of at least two of the Fill the Boot volunteers.
Daniel Walker brought along his daughters Delaney, 5, and Jovie 2. Nathan
Keyser's wife Sabrina was also there along with daughter Scarlet, 5 months, who
dozed off most of the time.
A corner of the Louise Avenue shopping center on Harlan Road was used as the firefighters' set-up with a tent above a table and chairs and a firetruck for backdrop. The group said they were grateful to the shopping center owner who allowed them temporary use of the parking lot's corner not just this time but for every year in the past six years they conducted the fund raiser at this same location.
The firefighters were impressed by the response they
received from donating motorists.
"Everybody is very eager to help Muscular Dystrophy Association," Keyser said.
This is not the only way the firefighters are serving the community and others. Every year at Christmas, they set up a giving Christmas tree on the lobby of Lathrop City Hall with the names of local children on gift tags along with their wish list for Santa. Before Christmas, the firefighters then host a party with the children as guests receiving their presents, donated by generous members of the community, handed out by Santa himself.