Firefighters start Fill the Boot campaign

Published 8:03 am Monday, August 16, 2010

For the second year in a row, Austin firefighters will be out of the station — and on the streets — looking to raise money in the fight against muscular dystrophy.

The “Fill the Boot” campaign will run Aug. 18-20 this year, with firefighters camped out at two intersections — Oakland Avenue West and 12th Street Southwest, as well as Main Street and Fourth Avenue Northwest — asking stopped drivers for some spare, charitable change to throw in their boots.

Last year was the first year the Austin Fire Department participated in the campaign since 1991, and it was a rousing success. The department raised a whopping $14,000, which made them the most successful station per firefighter in the upper Midwest.

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“It was amazing,” Austin firefighter Tim Olson said.

Olson said topping that feat will be hard to do, but he wouldn’t put it past this community.

“I would expect the unexpected when it comes to the generosity of the people of Austin,” Olson said.

Olson added that the support of new fire chief Mickey Healey will also make a successful 2010 campaign more likely.

“He is more than supportive,” Olson said. “He has bent over backwards to make this work.”

Healey is also implementing new safety measures for the campaign, which some have criticized for creating precarious traffic situations. This year, highly visible signs will be posted well in advance of the two intersections, letting drivers know that the firefighters are stationed ahead.

Olson added that the crew is instructed to only go up to drivers that wave them over, and to only do so during red lights.

To learn more about the disease, and to see how you can help support research, visit the Muscular Dystrophy Association at