BFD PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Belvidere Fire Dept. Chief Al Hyser and Firefighters Dan Drall and Josh Oates stand strong in the cause of fighting all forms of muscular dystrophy.

By Chad Cunningham

The Belvidere Fire Dept. would like to thank the community for supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) with our collection on Labor Day. We were able to raise a considerable amount of money even though the weather didn’t cooperate. This money helps fund research and also send kids to MDA Camp.

We would also like to thank all of the off-duty firefighters and their family members for donating their time to collect and count the money raised. Special thanks to Retired firefighter Todd Frisella for taking a post. Olive Garden was gracious again this year and provided dinner following the collection.

We had 28 out of 30 firefighters out collecting this year and it showed. We were able to collect a total of $10,000. This is less than we collected last year, but considering the issues with the weather we are very happy with it. We collect from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People showed up around 9:30 a.m. and got their materials – fire boot, signage, thank you stickers – and headed out to their collection areas at the Oasis, the corners of State St. and Logan Ave.; W. Locust and Appleton; N. State and Harrison; and at Walmart. They stood their posts through rain and storm and gave 100 percent.

This is a fire fighter tradition that has been going on over 60 years. We take pride in setting this day aside each year to support the MDA. They have made great strides over the past couple of years and medications are impacting children’s lives.

MDA Camp is near and dear to my heart. I have volunteered as a camp counselor for the past two years and will continue this as long as they will have me. My wife also donated a week of her summer with me at camp this year as a member of the medical staff. She is will also be a regular at camp each year.

These kids that we are collecting for need our help and also their families. Camp is completely paid for by MDA so it doesn’t create a financial burden on the families. For some families this is the only time that they are able to take time for themselves because normally taking care of a child with MDA can be a full time job. Belvidere Fire always ranks in the top 10 in the whole state of Illinois for money collected per member. This is a proud tradition that we will carrying on into the future.

One of the great things for me this year was that my camper I took care of at MDA Camp came and spent the night at my house the day before Labor Day and then came out and helped us collect.

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