Red Oak Fire and Rescue donated $6,822 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon on Monday, Sept. 3, in support of the MDA Fill the Boot Campaign.

Firefighters Brad Muirhead and David Petricca presented the check to Mike Snyder of Channel 5 News during at the MDA Telethon at Lone Star Park in Arlington.

The telethon is held every September but the firefighters fill their boots in June to avoid interference with other campaigns.

“We do the Muscular Dystrophy Fill the Boot Campaign each year,” volunteer firefighter/paramedic, Mark Stringer said. “We set up along I-35 and Ovilla Road for about two weeks for a total of eight hours collecting donations in our boot. Over the last five years, we’ve collected well over $22,500 toward the foundation and that’s just right here in Red Oak.”

The campaign is aimed at raising money to help aid in research, clinics, support groups, clinical trials, research news, summer Camp John Marc and assisting clients with the purchase of medical equipments such as wheelchairs.

“The monies also go toward talent shows, horseback rides and other activities we have at our camp,” MDA coordinator Amanda Cleeber said. “The monies support our support groups and clinics that our clients go to. A lot of firefighters come out and serve as counselors at the camp too.”

Cleeber praised the firefighters for a job well done saying, “They did an amazing job this year, raising almost $1,800 more than what was raised last year, which is great.”

Stringer said participating is something the department hopes to continue.

“This is something that’s kind of a tradition we do to assist the Jerry Lewis MDA Foundation,” said Stringer, who started the local campaign about 13 years ago. “I’ve been on the fire department for 15 years and I’ve been heading this for 13 of those. This was something I’ve watched since I was kid and I saw that Red Oak wasn’t doing it so I decided to started it.”

Stringer credited the residents of Red Oak and Ellis County for the amount of money they donate.

“We couldn’t do it without the residents so again I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the citizens of Red Oak and Northern Ellis County who stopped and dropped their change and dollar bills into our boots for Jerry’s Kids,” Stringer said. “With the prices of everything going up, we were still able to collect that much and it’s just wonderful. They came through and dropped off their hard earned money and that says a lot.”

According to the Web site, the MDA 42nd Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon set a record of $63,759,478 in contributions and pledges, which will fund research, services and information for people with any of the neuromuscular diseases under the organization’s umbrella.

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