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Firefighters raise $11,800 for MDA
MDA check presentation
Dawson County Emergency Services presents local kids Abigail Lloyd and Gabriel Broes with a check for over $11,800 to allow the two to attend camp sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The money was raised during a Fill the Boot drive the first week in September. - photo by Allie Dean

During the 2017 Muscular Dystrophy Association Fill the Boot campaign, the dedicated members of the Dawson County Emergency Services department took to the streets to help kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases live longer and grow stronger.

More than $11,800 was raised to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association through Aug.31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2.

“The firefighters of the Dawson County Emergency Services Department have once again shown their immense dedication and care for MDA’s families during this year’s Fill the Boot campaign,” said MDA Representative Abby Ruffner. “This year’s Fill the Boot was a success and we are grateful for the generosity of those in the Dawson County community who have helped individuals with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases truly live unlimited.”

The money raised will help two local children, Gabriel Broes, 11, and Abigail Lloyd, 12, attend MDA camp next summer.

Broes and Lloyd, with their families in attendance, were presented with the check on Sept. 20 by Dawson County Emergency Services personnel.

Broes’ mother Shelly Teems said that attending camp has changed her son’s life.

“He loves camp and he gets so much out of it,” Teems said.

Broes said that his favorite things about camp are archery, the pool and water wars and breakfast, lunch and dinner, of course.

Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford said that the generosity of the people in the community is what makes the drive a success year after year.

“We don’t do a whole lot. We stand there with a boot but it's a generous community who helps make this happen. We live in a great place and we take care of our own,” Swafford said.

Dawson County Emergency Services also supports the Firefighters Burn Foundation and K.A.R.E. for Kids with Fill the Boot drives each year. Swafford said that the average amount raised for the three days they collect is around $10,000.

Firefighters have taken part in MDA’s Fill the Boot tradition for more than 60 years, hitting the streets or storefronts asking pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passersby to make a donation to MDA, joining the fight to find treatments and cures for devastating diseases that take away everyday abilities like walking, talking, hugging and even breathing.

Funds raised help MDA’s efforts to fund groundbreaking research and life-enhancing programs such as state-of-the-art support groups and Care Centers, including the MDA Care Center Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and the ALS Care Center at Emory in Atlanta.

They also help send more than 100 local kids to “the best week of the year” at MDA Summer Camp at no cost to their families at Camp Twin Lakes.

Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at