Add another $14,000 to the more than $500,000 the Johnston Association of Firefighters Local 1950 has collected since 1970 for the highly acclaimed Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
“We have kept this tradition alive for over 53 years since 1970 when Local 1950 organized as a union,” said Johnston Fire Department Lt. Jon Pistachio. “We have done so during that time thanks to the generosity of Johnston residents and those who travel through our town.”
It’s all part of The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) partnership with the MDA that began in 1950 and features union members across the country collecting critical funds in the community — one dollar at a time — as part of the famous “Fill the Boot Program.”
“The unique partnership began when the IAFF signed a proclamation designating MDA as it charity of choice vowing to continue raising awareness and funds to ensure effective treatments and therapies are found,” Pistaccio explained. “The dollars raised are used to empower people living with neuromuscular disease to live longer more independent lives.”
Also, the MDA is the number one voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases. For more than 70 years, MDA has led the way in accelerating research, advancing care and advocating for support for their families.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Pistachio continued. “Our members wear special vests and hold an actual firefighter’s boot and stand safely at intersections in town and receive donations that range from a handful of change to a dollar. This year we received a $100 bill from a motorist.”
In keeping with a tradition that has become a 1950 credo through the years, Pistachio said: “We cannot thank enough the many people who stopped to drop a donation into the boot, and we truly appreciate all of the motorists’ patience while we were out there collecting for this very important organization.”