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Last fall and this winter, Athens firefighters used their boots to entice the community to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
They asked the public to drop dollars and change into the boots as part of the annual Filling the Boot Campaign for MDA. Athens Fire and Rescue raised nearly $9,000 this year, the most raised by any fire department in the state in its population category.
At the Monday, Feb. 13, Athens City Council meeting, Katherine Shivers, director of Business Development for MDA, and 7-year-old Ethan LyBrand of Decatur gifted Athens firefighters with the Golden Axe to thank them for their efforts.
“Keep up the good work,” Ethan told the Athens City Council. Ethan is the 2017 Alabama State Goodwill Ambassador for MDA.
Ethan’s father, Josh LyBrand, who teaches in Athens City Schools, told the firefighters and council that, “This means more to us than you’ll ever know.”
Shivers said money raised from Filling the Boot supports worldwide research, specialized health care services, day-to-day services and a summer camp in Jackson’s Gap, Ala., that is geared toward children affected by muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
“I am thankful to Mayor Ronnie Marks and our City Council for allowing us to represent the City of Athens with this great cause,” said Athens Fire and Rescue Chief Bryan Thornton. “Filling the Boot for MDA is a tradition among the fire service, and our firefighters enjoy being involved in this community service.”
Thornton also thanked the community for donating money each time firefighters held a Filling the Boot event.