Local donations totaled more than $57,000 for local firefighters during the annual Fill the Boot campaign to benefit the local Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“We love to serve our community and be in our community, so anything that they need, we will be there for them,” said Michael Robertson, president of Waco Professional Fire Fighters Local No. 478. “We want to be there for anything our MDA families need, and we just enjoy doing this.”

Members of the Waco Professional Fire Fighters Local No. 478 presented a $57,646.63 check to Muscular Dystrophy Association Waco-area director Jen Jessen on Tuesday. This year’s Fill the Boot campaign brought in one of the highest local totals for the annual fundraiser by Waco firefighters.

Faith Fortenberry, 5, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy Type 2 in January 2013, was at fire station No. 1 in East Waco to help receive the check Tuesday afternoon. Her mother, LeeAnn Fortenberry, said the local contributions are appreciated, and the outreach has been overwhelming.

“This means a ton, because without them, there would be a lot of people who cannot get the equipment and help they need for conditions similar to Faith’s,” LeeAnn Fortenberry said. “This means the world to have local support and know that our community is willing to help out everyone.”

Faith Fortenberry was diagnosed when she was 17 months old after her family noticed significant physical delays in her development.

Jessen said children and adults diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other related, life-threatening diseases lose the ability to walk, run or care for themselves. Last year, more than 2,000 Fill the Boot events were held to raise more than $25 million.

“Waco firefighters consistently raise over $50,000 every single year, so it really does go a long way to support local families in the area,” Jessen said. “Money goes to different support and services, like clinics, summer camps and research and cures for individuals.”

For more information about Muscular Dystrophy Association, visit www.mda.org.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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