Alpena Township firefighters raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Association

News Photo by Michael Gonzalez A fire truck pulls out of the Alpena Township Fire Department for their fundraiser.

ALPENA — Firefighters from Alpena Township stood at the intersection of Ripley Boulevard and U.S.-23 on Friday to collect donations from passing cars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Alpena County Sheriff Erik W. Smith and Undersheriff Cash Kroll also helped out, decorating themselves with neon-yellow reflective vests and firefighter boots.

“[Fill the Boot] means to help others, get money in so they can keep doing research for Muscular Dystrophy, and eventually it’s gonna help somebody else down the road,” Firefighter Matthew Klimczak said. “It’s just something that the fire department’s been doing for years.”

Fill the Boot is an annual fundraiser that has been going on for nearly 70 years all over the U.S.

For the Alpena Township Fire Department, Fire Chief Mark Hansen said they’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. Klimczak was the firefighter that was picked to lead this year’s event.

News Photo by Michael Gonzalez Alpena Township Fire Chief Mark Hansen and Alpena County Undersheriff Erik W. Smith stand out in the intersection of Ripley Boulevard and U.S.-23 for the Fill the Boot Campaign on Friday.

The department only did one evening – from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – for the event, so their goal was to raise $1,000.

Klimczak said because of the long-running campaign, the fire department union had all of the information to deal with the processes.

“We’re always very appreciative of any of the donations or any people that do come through this intersection,” Klimczak said. “It’s been our favorite intersection and it actually really works.”

One donor for Fill the Boot was Charles Slater. His car was parked at the lot in front of the event’s intersection.

Slater said his wife passed away more than a month ago and they would always donate for this event.

He gave his last 50 cents to Fill the Boot. Slater said he’s homeless and the 50 cents was the only money he had left in his name.

“I’m glad the fire department’s doing what they’re doing,” Slater said. “Now it hurts a little bit because I miss my wife and she’s not here to enjoy it.”


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