CATHEDRAL CITY – As temperatures climbed toward 100 on Friday, Cathedral City fighters/paramedics remained undaunted in their second consecutive day to raise money as part of the Fill the Boot campaign.

It is a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Money helps support MDA’s mission and fight against muscle disease.

Cathedral City Firefighters Work to Fill the BootOn Thursday, April 25, fighters/paramedics raised about $6,000, said Chris Dietz, a fighter/paramedic.

Some motorists honked to show support, others shouted words of encouragement. Many, stopped for the red lights at the intersection of Ramon Road and Cathedral Canyon Drive, handed over cash and gave the thumbs up sign. Some motorists who didn’t catch the red light, literally turned into parking lots to help Fill the Boot.

As many as 20 Cathedral City Firefighters stood vigil at the bustling intersection from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. They will hold out their boots as collection tools. Some of the men were on duty, others came in to volunteer.

“Ultimately this is about helping MDA, but it’s a great way for us to get our face out there before the public,” Dietz said. “I think that’s important – to let the public see who we are.”

Over the past five years, Cathedral City Firefighters have raised more than $65,000 for The Muscular Dystrophy Association, according to Heather Harvin. She is a development specialist for MDA in Metro Los Angeles. The Cathedral City crew has made this an annual tradition for more than a decade.

Corey Goddard, fire engineer and president of the Cathedral City Professional Firefighters Association, organizes the event for Cathedral Firefighters/Paramedics.

“I like having the opportunity to raise funds for an organization that helps individuals in need,” Goddard told Uken Report. “We get to see many people from the community, even though if it’s for just a brief second. We also see many visitors just landing at Palm Springs International Airport (who are) driving through. It’s a long two days of walking, but we enjoy doing the event as a group. We want everyone to come by, say ‘hi,’ and drop a dollar or two, or even some change.”

Subway, Tortilla’s Restaurant, and Boy’s Burgers donated food during the two days. Tortilla’s Restaurant, which Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez owns, also wrote a check for $150 to MDA, said Sarah Lopez, development coordinator for MDA.

“These firefighters/paramedics have great community support,” Lopez told Uken Report.

Goddard also gave a shout-out to Larry’s Liquor for allowing the Fire Department to use the business parking lot to park the rigs. He also praised Discount Tire for allowing the men to use the facilities.

“And, of course,” Goddard added, “all of those that donated.”

Each year, firefighters take to the streets through Fill the Boot events across the country to help kids and adults with muscular dystrophy live longer and grow stronger, Harvin said.

Every dollar raised helps the MDA pay for groundbreaking research, care for kids and adults, and empower families with services and support in hometowns across America, Harvin said.

The money Cathedral City Firefighters raise stays local to help families throughout the Inland Empire Area, Harvin said.

Fill the Boot been a staple of fire departments for 65 years. The first Fill the Boot was in Boston in 1953. It made $5,000. Today that would a little more than $47,000, according to Lola Davidson, development director for MDA in Los Angeles.

Last year, firefighters raised more than $20 million all over the nation. In 2018 the LA Metro Region Fill the Boot made about $839,205, Davidson said.  (LA Metro Region includes: Orange County, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Ventura County, Fresno and San Luis Obispo)

Sixty-nine Fire Departments in the LA Metro Region participate in Fill the Boot.



Image Sources

  • Cathedral City Firefighters Work To Fill The Boot: Cindy Uken
  • Cathedral City Firefighters Work To Fill The Boot: Cindy Uken