For 60 years, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has supported MDA with steadfast drive and uncommon caring – and MDA wants to say THANK YOU!
Throughout 2014, MDA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are celebrating 60 years of a partnership committed to saving lives. As the Muscular Dystrophy Association's largest national sponsor, the IAFF fuels MDA's mission to improve and save the lives of more than one million Americans affected by muscle disease.
IAFF efforts for MDA include the organization’s spirited Fill the Boot campaign, in which fire fighters hit the streets where they ask pedestrians, motorists and other passers-by to contribute – money in the boot – for MDA. Fire fighters also devote countless hours every year at MDA Summer Camp sessions around the country, where thousands of children with muscle disease experience a week of barrier-free fun while gaining confidence and independence.
The IAFF is a major contributing sponsor of the MDA Show of Strength Telethon, and IAFF contributions from charity baseball games and other local events help support MDA's efforts to raise awareness and provide professional and public education.
To learn more about the IAFF’s long-standing partnership with MDA, read Giving Muscle Disease the Boot.
Officially formed in 1918, the International Association of Fire Fighters is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics. Harold Schaitberger has served as the General President of the IAFF since 2000. He also serves as an MDA vice president.
The IAFF raised $100,000 for MDA in 1955, and $1 million in 1970. Fire fighters continue to raise the bar in their fundraising efforts, with $10 million raised in 1995 and $26.2 million in 2013.
To date, the IAFF has raised nearly $530 million for MDA.
The unparalleled dedication fire fighters show to advancing MDA's mission is a true example of selflessness in support of others.
The IAFF raises millions of dollars each year through its spirited Fill the Boot campaign, in which fire fighters greet motorists, shoppers and others, on the street and outside stores, and ask them to donate money to MDA.
The Fill the Boot concept was inspired by a door-to-door campaign IAFF held for MDA support in 1953.
In its first year, Fill-the-Boot garnered $5,000 in donations. In 2013 the campaign brought in $26.2 million. More than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events around the country in 2013.
"Why I participate in Fill the Boot for MDA"
"I fill the boot because it's a fire fighter tradition!"
"I fill the boot because that is what we do to help kids and adults right in our own community!"
"I collect because I have healthy kids, and can't imagine the challenges MDA parents and families go through!"
"I collect because it's one more way we can help save lives!"
"I collect because I know if I'm out there, our citizens will give!"
On July 16, 2014, delegates at the International Association of Fire Fighters’ 52nd Convention in Cincinnati heard from Dallas Local 58 member Tracy Beard, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January 2014. Beard said that as a fire fighter, he has always been strongly committed to supporting MDA, and now — as an individual living with ALS — he has a personal perspective on how MDA helps families.
“Fill the Boot is an honored tradition for both organizations, and it’s a great way for fire fighters to be out in the community reminding residents that they are here, always ready to help. For six decades, MDA and the IAFF have joined forces to fight back against muscle diseases that threaten the lives of infants, children and adults. Our members raise millions of dollars each year through Fill the Boot campaigns, and we know the money raised for MDA definitely makes a difference for individuals and families affected by muscle disease.”
– Harold A. Schaitberger, IAFF General President
“Since 1954, the IAFF has fueled MDA's mission to assist families with lifesaving help by funding research to find treatments and cures and by rallying communities to fight back. Fire fighters do more for MDA and those we serve than any other group. They spend countless hours every year giving back to their communities, and we’re grateful for the support of these inspiring, selfless individuals who have made a profound impact on our families’ health, wellbeing and quality of life.”
– MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks.
Contact your local MDA office to learn about any IAFF-associated events or volunteer opportunities in your local area: 800.572.1717.