© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Prince Albert Fire Department newcomer Ben Hunter, centre, is seen with fellow department members who are looking to “fill the boot” this month. Members will be parked outside of Canadian Tire from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday in hopes of filling a boot full of donations for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Rejoining a long-standing tradition among Canadian fire departments, local firefighters have set their sights on filling a boot with donations on Saturday.
Using a firefighter boot as a donation receptacle, members of the Prince Albert Fire Department will be parked outside of Canadian Tire on Saturday to raise funds and awareness for muscular dystrophy.
“We’re just trying to get more involved in the community of Prince Albert,” said Adam Dziadyk, a member of the fire department’s charity committee.
“This is going to be a continued effort now that we have a lot of … guys that are looking to make a change in the community.
“The relationship between firefighters and Muscular Dystrophy (Canada) is too good. We’ve been helping each other out since ’54.”
The link between firefighters and the charitable organization was sparked by a fundraiser held by a department in Toronto in 1954 -- an effort replicated throughout the country, Muscular Dystrophy Canada spokesperson Tammy Reihl explained.
Happy to see the Prince Albert Fire Department re-join the effort after a hiatus, she puts forth a challenge, noting that departments in Weyburn and Saskatoon raise an average of $8,000 per boot drive.
“Every dollar raised in Saskatchewan stays in Saskatchewan,” she said.
Donations to Muscular Dystrophy Canada go toward muscular dystrophy research, equipment for people living with muscular dystrophy, programs and services.
There are currently more than 250 people in Saskatchewan who benefit directly from Muscular Dystrophy Canada programming, but Reihl notes that there are more people in the province who live with the neuromuscular disorder.
This is going to be a continued effort now that we have a lot of … guys that are looking to make a change in the community. Adam Dziadyk
“Our numbers are growing, and through Fill the Boots and any of the fundraising events we are creating awareness so more people know that we are available and providing services for them,” she said.
The Prince Albert Fire Department is keen to help out, Dziadyk said, noting that the charity committee’s Fill the Boot idea was met by unanimous support.
The department won’t limit themselves to an annual muscular dystrophy fundraiser, Dziadyk said. Next month, the department will focus on breast cancer.
Although the details have yet to be fully hashed out, Dziadyk said that October’s breast cancer effort is poised to be even more significant than this months Fill the Boot fundraiser.
“Everyone knows the importance of muscular dystrophy and breast cancer (awareness and fundraising),” he said.
“We always want to be role models … for not just kids but for everybody, and maybe our presence of donating or fundraising and just helping within the community can pass on to families, and maybe they’ll want to help out.”
In addition to being on site at Canadian Tire from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, the department has set up Fill the Boot donation stations around the city throughout September.
Locations selected so far include My Place Restaurant, Darcy’s Golf Shop, SportChek and Pricebreakers.