Monday, March 20, 2023

Southlake Firefighters Fill-the-Boot for MDA

Beginning today through the end of June, Southlake Firefighters will be pulling double duty for a great cause! The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Fill-the-Boot campaign kicked off this morning with firefighters hitting the streets with boots in hand.

The Southlake Fire Department is proud to have a long tradition of participating in the MDA campaign. Over the years, firefighters have raised tens-of-thousands of dollars thanks to your generous donations. It’s important to note that all of the money collected will serve the greater Tarrant County area. Your donations will help fund research for MDA; provide medical equipment; motorized chairs for children; and a week at the MDA Summer Camp for kids. The summer camp allows children with neuromuscular diseases the opportunity to just have fun and be a kid with other kids like them. The camp provides parents with peace of mind knowing their children are in great hands with caregivers who are dedicated health professionals and trained camp volunteers.  It also gives parents an opportunity to spend special time with the camper’s siblings.  2013-7-10Filltheboot1

The Southlake Fire Department is honored to be a part of the MDA Fill-the-Boot campaign and to be able to give back in such a positive way. Fire Chief Mike Starr says, “The relationship between firefighters and MDA reaches far beyond Fill-the-Boot. Over the years, several Southlake Firefighters have participated as camp counselors and they have inspired other firefighters to sign up for the MDA summer camp.”

Southlake residents have always been so generous with their donations. Because of you, firefighters have collected nearly $30,000.00 in years past reaching $33,327.29 in 2014. Every dollar counts.

If you would like more information about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, or information on how you can get involved – you can find all the information you need at MDA.

For more information about Fill-the-Boot in Southlake, please contact Renni Burt at 817-748-8106.

Giving Back to MDA and Kids with Special Needs

Southlake firefighters are known for racing toward raging fires to save lives and property but oftentimes they go even further in their commitment to serve others.MDA 2

Meet Southlake Firefighters Jody Keeler and Eric Woods. They just returned from a weeklong trip as volunteers at Camp John Marc – the MDA Summer Camp in Meridian, Texas. Camp John Marc is a completely wheelchair accessible atmosphere. This year 120 campers with Muscular Dystrophy and 100 counselors (volunteers) were at the camp from June 13th to 19th.

Keeler and Woods volunteered as counselors with a group of 15 and 16-year old young men. This is Firefighter Jody Keeler’s second year volunteering at the camp, and Woods first; both plan to return to the MDA Camp every year. Keeler says it’s one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done.  “You could see their young faces light up when they arrived at camp; and so did ours. They immediately filled our hearts with joy and happiness.” Keeler added, “You might think the kids get more out of the interaction than we do, but these young men are truly a blessing and a gift to me. They never have a bad attitude and never complain about not being able to do everyday life skills that we oftentimes take for granted. They are such an inspiration.”

MDA 1The campers had so much fun at Camp John Marc.  They were excited to participate in every day activities such as fishing, sports activities, swimming, horseback riding, zip lining, cooking, pottery, arts and crafts, blow darts and a lot more throughout the week. “This is the campers’ one week to just be like any other kid,” said Keeler.

Keeler and Woods add that they are grateful to Fire Chief Mike Starr and Deputy Fire Chief Wade Carroll who allow them the opportunity to volunteer. Carroll says, “This is what the ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign is all about – helping kids with Muscular Dystrophy. Donations from our community are just one of the many ways that help make the MDA Camp possible.”

This was Firefighter Woods first time as a counselor at the MDA Camp. He says, “Being at the MDA camp was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve have ever had. It was truly a blessing for me and was great to experience first-hand what ‘Fill the Boot” is all about, who it impacts and why we do it.” MDA 3

You might be wondering what impact the camp has on the volunteers. “These kids were truly amazing individuals, and this experience has completely changed my life without a doubt,” said Woods. He adds, “Jody Keeler said it the best – ‘It is a life reset for us.’ To see these kids with physical disabilities wake up everyday at camp with nothing but smiles; positive attitudes, polite manners, and not a single ounce of depression or anger, truly made me look at my life in a completely different light.”

“The things that we complain about throughout our normal everyday lives, whether it be at work, home, or in our personal lives gets completely tossed out the window,” says Woods. “The things we take for granted everyday, such as the simple act of walking, or being able to bring a fork to our mouth with our favorite food is something these incredible kids struggle with every day, yet they are filled with such joy. It makes you realize that getting stuck in traffic, worrying about money etc. are small things when you see these kids overcome incredible odds – and they do it every day with the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen.”

Woods said, “I am proud to be a part of a City and a department that allowed me to have the opportunity to volunteer at this amazing camp with these amazing kids!” Woods said he would be back, along with Keeler, next year.  “Words can not express my deep appreciation and gratitude to have shared this week with these special kids,” said Woods.

The Southlake Fire Department would like to thank all of the folks who donated to MDA ‘Fill the Boot’ over the years.  If you would like to see more pictures of the camp and learn more about Camp John Marc we’ve provided a link for you.


Southlake Firefighters Break Record in MDA "Fill the Boot" Donations!

The Southlake Fire Department would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Muscular Dystrophy Association “Fill the Boot” campaign.  We are so thrilled to tell you that with your help, Southlake firefighters collected more than $33,000 for MDA, the largest amount ever collected by our department!

This is the 60th year for “Fill the Boot.”  All of the money collected from your generous donations will serve the greater Tarrant County area. All monies raised go to help fund research for MDA, provide medical equipment, motorized chairs for children and a week at the MDA Summer Camp. MDA’s Summer Camp allows children with neuromuscular diseases the opportunity be a kid and it also provides parents with peace of mind knowing their children are in great hands with caregivers who are dedicated health professionals and trained camp volunteers.  It also gives parents an opportunity to spend special time with the camper’s siblings.

Southlake Firefighter Jody Keeler is following in the footsteps of other Southlake firefighters by volunteering to be a camp counselor this summer.  Jody says, “I am very excited to be a part of the MDA Summer Camp because it gives back so much to the kids, their parents and everyone in the family. It is such an amazing organization.”MDA Jody Keeler 1

At MDA Camp, kids with neuromuscular disease discover a world that is created just for them. They get to meet with other kids who have the same needs that they do as well as just have fun being a kid and sharing new experiences like: horseback riding, swimming, adaptive sports, arts and crafts, camp dances and so much more. Campers will tell you that it is “the best week of the year” for them.  Kids are able to develop lifelong friendships and increase their confidence and self-esteem.

This year more than a 100 community volunteers will spend a week of their lives becoming role models, caregivers, friends, and camp counselors to 100 campers living with neuromuscular disease. These volunteers have various backgrounds, such as firefighters, police officers, UT Southwestern Physical Therapy students, local college students, plus 10 and 20 year returning veteran volunteers. They are all truly amazing individuals and so are all of you who helped to “Fill the Boot” this year. Thanks to your donations children with muscular dystrophy will reap the benefits of your generosity.  To learn more about muscular dystrophy or give to MDA log on to

Southlake DPS Hit the Streets for MDA Fill-the-Boot Campaign- UPDATE

David Bussiere posing with Southlake Fire Department

UPDATE August 16, 2013: The Southlake Fire Department wants to thank the traveling public for their contributions to the Southlake Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Fill the Boot Campaign.  More than $28,900 was raised this year.  This year’s MDA telethon will take place Sunday, September 1, 2013 on ABC TV.

Once again, members of Southlake Department of Public Safety (DPS) will take to the streets collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). This annual fundraising event,  known as Fill-the-Boot, will take place July 15-17 at the east end of Southlake Boulevard and July 22-24 at the west end of Southlake Boulevard.

With boots in hand, fire fighters from Southlake Stations 1 and 2 will man intersections seeking donations of any amount to donate to this important cause. In 2012, Southlake DPS collected $29,150, coming in ninth out of 51 cities that participated throughout Dallas Fort Worth. On a statewide level, Texas fire fighters ranked #1, raising more than $3 million in 2012.

Southlake DPS has taken the Fill-the-Boot campaign to heart, thanks in part to David Bussiere, a three-year-old Southlake boy diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at 19-months-old. David’s family has received tremendous support from MDA and they are optimistic that a cure will be found.

David and the Bussiere family

Fill-the Boot is a 59-year-old tradition that takes place across the nation with thousands of fire fighters. In 2012, fire fighters were the number one non-corporate sponsor of MDA. Funds raised from the Fill-the-Boot campaign are used to provide medical equipment and repairs, send children with neuromuscular disease to summer camp, and research to find treatments

The relationship between fire fighters and MDA reaches far beyond Fill-the-Boot. Fire fighters have participated in camp as counselors over the years, quickly becoming role models for the countless children living with neuromuscular diseases. Their willingness to give their time makes a lifelong impact.

Please help Southlake DPS Fill-the-Boot this month!