Firefighters honored for filling the boot

GOWEN FIELD, Boise, Idaho -- The Professional Firefighters of Idaho recognized the Gowen Field Fire Department as its most generous member at their annual conference earlier this month. They honored the department for raising the "Most Dollars Raised per Member" on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's 2010 "Fill the Boot" event. According to the MDA, the department rated as 16th best in the nation.

"It just goes to show what a small department can really do," said Staff Sgt. Robert Hunt, Driver Operator. "This was pretty spectacular for our department to be ranked so high nationally."

Master Sgt. Ryan York and Staff Sgt. Marshal Holt, of the department, attended the professional fire fighters conference, last week at the Owyhee Plaza hotel, where they were presented the award. The award was then presented by Staff Sgt. Robert Hunt to the rest of the department March 6.

During the two-day "Fill the Boot" event in July, the firemen were not initially satisfied with the $6000 raised because they were accustomed to raising up to $20,000 so they requested an additional day in August to raise more money.

"It was the opening day of the (Western Idaho) Fair and we were located at the intersection of Chinden Blvd. and Veterans Memorial Parkway, in Boise. We raised almost $10,000 just that day," said Sgt. Hunt.

The local MDA will use the funds raised to support Idaho families of children with muscular dystrophy and send the children to MDA Summer Camp in McCall this June. A portion of the funds also go to the main chapter for research.

In May, the department supports a one-day kid's camp here for the families, children, and counselors that attending MDA camp in McCall. They expect nearly 150 people, including families, children, and counselors, to attend the one-day event.

"The day camp will allow the children and families to meet the counselors before they go to camp," said Sgt. Hunt.

Hunt said that they usually support the MDA Summer Camp in McCall but they are unable to this year because of the Operational Readiness Inspection schedule so that's why they planned the one-day camp. They are also sending dollars to support the McCall MDA camp.

The department also raises funds for the MDA throughout the year with events like their upcoming MDA Lockup on April 28.