• Local firefighters take to the streets one last time for MDA

 

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Their window of opportunity to collect for MDA on city streets may be closing after this year, but Muscatine firefighters aren't letting that distract from their mission.

At the Aug. 1 City Council meeting, the council approved a motion to allow the firefighters to conduct the Fill the Boot MDA fundraiser on city streets this year. But next year the group will have to conduct its collection somewhere else. The move came after city officials' concerns over what they said was a double-standard in enforcing pan-handling laws for some people, while not for the firefighters.

The boot drive has firefighters stationed at intersections at Park Avenue and Lake Park Boulevard and Cedar and Eighth streets from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14 through Friday, Aug. 16.

Firefighter Aaron Meredith, who was at the intersection of Eighth and Cedar Street, said that a majority of the people who've been donating have told firefights how glad they were to see them in the streets.

"There have been a lot of positive things said," Meredith said.

Meredith, a firefighter with the Muscatine Fire Department for almost three years, said he just recently learned where all the money the firefighters collect goes.

"It helps [local] families with medical costs get braces and send kids to Camp Courageous," Meredith said. Camp Courageous is a camp in Monticello, Iowa, for youth, kids and adults with disabilities. "I've been told the camp is a life-changing experience."

Firefighter Dan Novak said he didn't hear one negative thing about firefighters being in the streets. While out collecting, he said people have been showing a lot of support. 

"One lady told me she's got a petition going to keep us on the streets next year," Novak said, adding the woman said her son died of muscular dystrophy.

Firefighter Anthony Krumbholz said he wasn't surprised the city made this the last year because firefighters have been fighting to stay on city streets for years. If they could pick their location next year, Meredith said he'd pick Wal-Mart, since it's one of the most heavily trafficked stores in Muscatine.

"But it'll be hard next year to make up what we usually bring in [on city streets]," Meredith said.

"This isn't about us," Novak said. "We do this for the kids and everyone likes it."