Wausau firefighters kick off annual 'Fill the Boot' campaign for MDASubmitted: 06/27/2016

Play Video
WAUSAU - Roy Thorson tries to be as self-reliant as possible.  But when you live with spinal muscular atrophy, as the 14-year-old does, you can use a boost every once in a while.

Monday morning, Thorson joined up with Wasuau firefighters to announce the start of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual "Fill the Boot" campaign.

"Not many people in today's society take the time to help others, so it's great to see them," Thorson said of the firefighters. "They take a night of their time and they go out and raise money for people like me. That just means all the world to me."

Every year, firefighters around the country ask people to donate to MDA, which helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases. It's part of a pledge the international firefighters union signed up for six decades ago.

"[We pledged to] help raise money to find a cure, and we wouldn't stop until we found a cure," Wausau firefighter Matt Tormohlen said.

Sixty-two years later, muscular dystophy still affects tens of thousands. But Wausau firefighters are making an impact, raising $17,000 in the last five years combined.

"It says a lot about the community and a lot about just who they are," Tormholen said.

Wausau doesn't stand alone. Firefighters raised $17 million in 2015. That was enough to pay for all of MDA's research for the year.

"These guys are heroes to many people, but they're also heroes to our families and our kids and adults that have a form of muscular dystrophy," said MDA Fundraising Coordinator Heather Buchberger.

Other donations help kids like Roy go to summer camp. To him, "Fill the Boot" is a welcome fundraiser that could have an even bigger impact.

"Imagine if everyone in society did this," Thorson said. "You could raise hundreds of millions. There's always more you can do but, for sure, the firefighters here have an awesome start."

A start to a program that won't stop until there's no longer a need to fill these boots.

Wausau firefighters will be at three area events this summer: July 8 at the annual Balloon Rally and Rib Fest, August 3 for that week's 400 Block Concerts on the Square, and August 19 at the Big Bull Falls Blues Fest.

New this year: Wausau will have an online donation form as well, so even if you can't make it to a "Fill the Boot" event this summer, you can still give. You can find a link to that form below this story.

Related Weblinks:
Wausau Fire Department's MDA Fill the Boot Campaign

Story By: Lane Kimble

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story


MERRILL - Merrill's current skate park doesn't feature many of the tools modern skaters need. That's why some people want to build a new one.

The current skate park has old equipment and skaters complain it's not big enough.

+ Read More

LINCOLN COUNTY - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says an 82-year-old man died after slipping into the water near a Tomahawk-area dam Sunday.

The sheriff's office says Cecil Vogts fell into the water by Bradley Dam in the Township of Bradly.

+ Read More

TOMAHAWK - A 31-year-old woman in Tomahawk will face drug charges after being arrested last week.

The Tomahawk Police Department said Monday it arrested Ashleigh Wright on Thursday after investigating the sale and distribution of meth.

+ Read More

MADISON - A report from the Institute of Research on Poverty says the poverty rate in Wisconsin remained flat between 2013 and 2014 despite an increase in jobs.

Researchers for the study say the state's poverty rate held steady at around 10.8 percent between 2013 and 2014.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's softball coach approached the city to build a second softball field at Pioneer Park earlier this year. 

When the city approved the softball association's request to look into the possibility of another field, people on both sides of the argument spoke up. 

+ Read More

Play Video

- When the Pixar film "Finding Nemo" came out 13 years ago, parents and children rushed to the pet store to buy clownfish. Nemo's sequel, "Finding Dory," which was released earlier this month, is now sparking a growing  interest of its own.

+ Read More

PHILLIPS - Police want to figure out what caused the death of a 16-year-old girl in Phillips.

At about 6 a.m. Thursday, officers were called to an apartment in downtown Phillips following a report of a medical emergency. When they arrived, they found the girl unresponsive and not breathing.

+ Read More
+ More Local News

Click Here