Alabaster FD raises $6,500 for MDA

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

Firefighters are known for saving lives, but not all of their heroic efforts take place at the scene of a fire or other emergency.

During 2019’s tax-free weekend, the Alabaster Fire Department raised $6,515.69 toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) annual “Fill the Boot” campaign.

On Monday, Sept. 23, members of the fire department presented the official check to representatives of the nonprofit organization.

“We care about serving the public. That’s what we do,” said AFD Executive Officer Rowdy Tidwell.

Coincidentally, this year marks the 65th anniversary of MDA’s national partnership with firefighters. AFD has participated in the program for at least 20 years, paying tribute to one of their own who battled the disease.

“The firefighters of Alabaster Fire Department have once again gone above and beyond for MDA’s families during this year’s Fill the Boot campaign,” said MDA Development Coordinator Shaylee Beck. “We are so grateful for their dedication and for the generosity of those in the Alabaster 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.”

During the tax-free weekend in July, all three shifts (including nine engine companies) of the Alabaster Fire Department took turns manning tables in front of the local Walmart Supercenter and asking citizens to “fill their boots” with a donation.

In turn, the funds help MDA save lives and lift up those in need by providing vital resources to drive 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 four MDA Care Centers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They also help send more than 60 local kids to MDA summer camp at Camp ASCCA — all at no cost to their families.

In addition, the IAFF/MDA partnership is finding new ways to save lives by working to expand newborn screenings in the U.S. with Pompe disease or Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), so that they can be immediately eligible for lifesaving and life changing therapies.

“It’s a blessing to work with generous people, and firefighters are literally the most generous people that you come across,” said MDA Development Director Angie Jordin. “They have a heart for serving the community, and they work hard for families and children who are served by MDA.”