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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

HHFD hard work pays off

HHFD hard work pays off

SARA ESCOBAR

Evening Star

 

 

If you’ve lived in the Killeen and Harker Heights area for a while, it’s likely you have witnessed local fire fighters at busy intersections holding up what appears to be a boot—these   dedicated emergency personnel take to the streets to ask pedestrians, motorists and businesses for monetary donations that go to a worthy cause. For more than 60 years, the International Association of Fire Fighters has partnered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to raise money for new medicines, services, and life-saving treatments to those who suffer from various muscle-debilitating diseases. IAFF is MDA’s largest national partner; according to their official website, IAFF has raised more than $585.5 million to help kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, which causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

On Thursday, January 19, the hard work put in by the Harker Height’s fire department paid off. A generous check of over $4,300 was donated to MDA, the funds a profit of the Fill the Boot program. The check was received by Jen Jessen, the MDA area director for Waco, Temple and Killeen.

HHES/Sara Escobar Jen Jessen presents a plaque to the HHFD as a thank you for their hard work and dedication.

HHES/Sara Escobar
Jen Jessen presents a plaque to the HHFD as a thank you for their hard work and dedication.

“We are so thankful for this donation,” says Jessen, who’s been with MDA for almost two years. “Our fire fighters are some of our biggest advocates in the fight against muscle dystrophy. The money we receive goes to research, therapy services, and also our summer camps that help kids with MD receive customized treatment,” though there’s currently no cure for MD, Jessen says there’s no need to be discouraged. “We’re actually working on two developing treatments for MD that just recently got approved. It’s so exciting, and it’s thanks to contributions like these,”

The donation was presented by newly appointed fire chief, Paul Sims, who says that citizens in the area are the true heroes in this worthy cause. “Our citizens go above and beyond,” says Sims, who is native to Conroe. “It goes to show that those who live here are truly benevolent and care to help those in need. We want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts—we couldn’t do this without them,” Sims was also presented with a plaque on behalf of Jessen and MDA as a “thank you” for their efforts.

The Fill the Boot campaign began in 1953, when Boston fire fighters raised $5,000 for MDA. Thanks in part to the Fill the Boot donations, MDA is funding more than 150 research projects in multiple countries. According to MDA’s official website, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $25.5 million in 2015 alone. For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.mda.org.

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