Jul 28, 2014
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Did You Put a Buck in the Boot?

Belmont firefighters raised more than $3,000 Thursday for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Do you think it was the boot....or something else?

A group of donated their day off Thursday to stand at the corner of Ralston Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, boot in hand, accepting donations from motorists for the .

"We've had pretty good response," said Captain John Tarantino from Belmont Firestation 15. Tarantino was on the corner near the Chevron station with a sign and a boot.

"All the money raised here goes to the local chapter of MDA. This event is held in conjunction with the Labor Day Telethon," he added.

Along the Ralston Avenue median strip, firefighters Steven Scott and (Firehouse 15) and Chris McFarland (Firehouse 14) were accepting donations from vehicles in all lanes.

"I had four or five cars in a row that all gave me $20," said Scott.

"One guy couldn't stop in time so he just threw the money out the window at me!" Scott added.

All the volunteers said motorists were generous and from time to time they would meet up with MDA fundraising coordinators in the Safeway parking lot to empty the cash out of their boots.

is a national event and it goes on throughout the year, but it really picks up in the summer as we get closer to Labor Day," said MDA fundraising coordinator Mary Beth Myers.

Myers stressed that the firefighters were all donating their personal time to the cause.

"This is their day off, and they are here volunteering to raise money for MDA," said Myers.

Ashley Merolla, also an MDA fundraising coordinator stressed that all the money raised at "Fill the Boot" events benefit local MDA chapters.

"It goes to local clinics, equipment loan services such as wheelchairs that would ordinarily cost $10,000, but these donations allow us to loan the wheelchairs out free of charge," said Merolla.

The funds raised also go to sending local kids with muscular diseases to camps said Myers.

"They go to camp free of charge---and each get their own personal counselor at the camp."

Thursday's "Fill the Boot" goal was $3,500.

"We know we'll make our goal," said Myers, who noted that traffic was good since so many schools are back in session.

"People in Belmont are very generous," Myers added.

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