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Thread: IAFF Raises Record-Breaking Donation For MDA Telethon

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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    IAFF Raises Record-Breaking Donation For MDA Telethon

    Updated: 09-02-2003 05:28:06 PM

    IAFF Raises Record-Breaking Donation For MDA Telethon

    ............
    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News


    The International Association of Fire Fighters presented the 38th annual Jerry Lewis Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with a record-breaking $18.3 million, the largest single donation in the telethon's history.

    "We're proud of it, and of the work of our members over the course of the past year," said IAFF spokesman George Burke.

    IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger appeared numerous times during the televised event. He stressed that he is only the person who delivers the IAFF's contributions, and it took 260,000 firefighters working all year to make the donation possible. He also pledged that next year, which will be the 50th anniversary of the partnership between the IAFF and the MDA Telethon, will be a banner year.

    Last year's Telethon opened with a special segment to honor firefighters in the wake of 9/11, so this year Schaitberger expressed his appreciation for that gesture and asked to recognize another group - those who are still in the heat of the battle.

    He addressd all those in the military who were watching, and said, "I salute you and offer you the thanks of America's firefighters. As we say in the firehouse, 'Stay safe.'"

    There were also several segments used to introduce the IAFF's district representatives for the MDA efforts and the president of the IAFF auxilliary.

    Burke said the IAFF is so successful in their fundraising because they have a sophisticated operation and nearly 50 years of experience.

    "We have a coordinated game plan," he said, which includes several IAFF officials who help coordinate the efforts of the Locals full time, year round. The IAFF beat their donation from last year by over $1 million. Burke said that raising the bar each year is a matter of maintaining awareness, providing guidance and advice to the Locals and working directly with MDA staff.

    "It's one more way that firefighters show they are givers not only on the job but off the job," Burke said.

    While the trademark of the IAFF's fundraising efforts is their Fill the Boot campaign, the Locals also hold events such as softball tournaments. Kansas City firefighters raised money by playing against a minor league baseball team, Burke said.

    During the Telethon, Schaitberger also mentioned that elected officials in some cities do not allow firefighters to hold Fill the Boot campaigns, and argued that firefighters and citizens in all communities should have the opportunity to help the cause through this effective method.

    Burke said some Locals were able to contribute several hundred thousand dollars each, including those in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Fairfax VA, Philadelphia, the Las Vegas area, Miami-Dade and the south Florida area, Cleveland, Tulsa, Columbia SC and Los Angeles County.

    But Burke stressed that the Locals in small communities are just as appreciated because the amount raised is all relative, and everyone is working hard for the cause.

    Over the course of their partnership, the IAFF has given the MDA over $220 million, Burke said. He said that in addition to IAFF members, other members of the fire service have participated in the efforts to raise money for the MDA.

    "It's just natural. It's part of who we are," he said.

    At end of the Telethon, Lewis said that like always, next year's goal is to beat past years' contributions by at least one dollar, and Schaitberger assured him that the next day would mark the start of the IAFF's 2004 campaign.

    In total, the Telethon raised a record-breaking $60,505,234.


  2. #2
    Registered User E-33's Avatar
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    As a member of the San Antonio FD, I can say that we work hard every year to collect as much as we can. There are several members of the dept. that have children effected by this disease. You can rest assured that we will back out there next year, and the year after... etc.

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