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Firefighters helping MDA by filling their boots with money

PHOENIX -- Valley firefighters will be trying to fill their boots with money starting Friday.

It's the Fill the Boot drive to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

"Firefighters will be (at) the front of Fry's stores with the actual boots that they use to fight fires, and will be asking patrons to make a donation to help support the local Arizona Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association," said MDA Fundraising Coordinator Tina Wadham.

This is the 60th year of the boot drive, which has raised $650,000 in Arizona since 2009. The goal this year is to match last year's total of $150,000.

The money funds research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy. It also provides equipment for patients, and pays for a summer camp for kids in Payson.

Some of the money goes to the patients themselves.

"We provide our clients with $500 per year to help repair their durable medical equipment, including things like wheelchairs," Wadham said.

Firefighters will hit the streets to start collecting donations around the Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix Friday afternoon. They will also be outside of various Fry's Food and Drug stores collecting money for the next three Saturdays.

To find out when the firefighters will be collecting money at a Fry's store in your area, call the Muscular Dystrophy Association at (480)-753-9084.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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