Deputy Fire Chief Mark Stephens attributes the success of the fundraiser to the generosity of donors and the dedication of the firefighters who collected the money.
The department has been raising money for the association since the Milton Fire Department was established in 2007. Each year, it collects more money than the year before. Last year’s Fill the Boot drive brought in $66,683, Stephens said. About halfway through this year’s fundraiser, Fire Chief Robert Edgar said he hoped the department would be able to collect $70,000 for 2014. Over the course of the years, Milton has raised more than $420,000 for the association.
“Firefighters have a long tradition of supporting that particular charity,” Stephens said.
Money raised during the drive supports local children and adults affected by neuromuscular diseases by providing medical equipment, clinic visits and access to support groups. It also provides funding so local children with muscle diseases can attend the association’s Camp Walk-N-Roll.
Milton’s fire department raises the most funds in the metro Atlanta region and ranks second in the state for collections, coming in behind the city of Warner Robins, which collects year-round.
“We’re real proud of that,” Stephens said. “The bragging point is we are one of the smallest departments, so for us to come in second really is a testament for the efforts we put into this.”
He said the fundraiser is a complete effort throughout the entire department.
“Basically everybody in our department gets involved … including the administrative staff,” Stephens said.
The A Shift, which collected on April 4 and May 16, brought in the most of all the shifts, raising more than $29,000. Shift members will be recognized for the accomplishment later in the year.
“It’s kind of played out different every year but … [representatives from the association] typically come out and do a dinner for the winning shift,” Stephens said.
He said the fire department will also recognize A Shift at the department’s annual awards ceremony banquet, which is held in the first quarter of each year for the prior year’s accomplishments.
A Shift kicked off the drive by bringing in more than $15,000 on the first day — another record breaker.