JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -Local heroes working to keep community members safe recently stepped up and made a difference in another way.
According to a media release, firefighters with the Jonesboro Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 3718 took to the streets at the first of June to raise money for people suffering from muscular dystrophy, ALS and other related muscle debilitating diseases.
Representatives from MDA issued a news release Thursday, stating the firefighters raised $12,500.
Development Director Britany Simmons said these Jonesboro firefighters’ generosity is saving lives.
“The firefighters of Jonesboro Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 3718 have once again gone above and beyond for MDA’s families during this year’s Fill the Boot campaign,” Simmons said. “We are so grateful for their dedication and for the generosity of those in the Jonesboro community who have helped to raise critical funds to help transform the lives of kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle debilitating diseases.”
Those funds are used to provide MDA with vital resources to advance their mission of driving innovations in science and care for the neuromuscular community.
Contributions have helped fund groundbreaking research and life-enhancing programs such as state-of-the-art support groups and Care Centers, including the MDA Care Center at University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. They also help send more than 40 local kids to the MDA summer camp at Camp Aldersgate, all at no cost to their families.
Jonesboro firefighter and President of the International Association of Firefighters, Jason Olesen, said the amount of money they raised is great.
“It was a rainy day when we were out,” Olesen said. “To know we raised that much money and have that kind of support from the community is amazing. It keeps your energy up and keeps you going.”
Firefighters took turns on their day off to stand at the intersection of Red Wolf and Nettleton Avenue all day, their boots high in the air to get drivers attention as they passed.
Olesen said he’s been a part of the fundraiser for 10 years.
“It’s just something you can’t over state,” Olesen said. “This is something that’s really important to support. MDA works on research for cures, sends kids to camp, and gets them the tools they need to make their lives better. When you look at all the work they do, it’s something that you want to support and get them every penny you can.”
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85% of the nation’s population.
Olesen said it’s the community that makes it possible to help so many.
“We’re maybe the ones who stand out there,” Olesen said. “But it wouldn’t matter how long we were out there if the community didn’t want to be involved and help. They’re the ones that make this possible.”
MDA has committed more than $1 billion since the organization was created for therapies and cures.