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Sunday, September 03, 2006

MDA Telethon

The MDA Telethon is in full swing. I enjoy seeing this event year after year. I will not be making it to the local event in Lynchburg this year as I have the past several years. This weekend, across the Nation and in Canada, Firefighters will be collecting for the MDA through Fill-the-Boot Campaigns. Local 1132's Fill the Boot was held two weeks ago due to scheduling conflicts. Unfortunately Local 1132 had a sub-par year. Being that a good year is only a couple of thousand dollars, you can imagine what a sub-par year equates to.

There are many firefighters out there who understand the partnership the IAFF and MDA have made in the pursuit of finding a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. These Locals raise tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in the matter of one week. Some Locals have the blessing of their Departments and City Governments to collect while on duty. The firefighters take care of the logistics, safety, and scheduling. In Roanoke, the City Government has enacted a panhandling law. This law restricts anyone from collecting on streets.

I have collected at the Fill the Boot campaign each year for the past 5 years. Eventually my coworkers will understand the reward of collecting for the MDA and seeing the children we help. The benefits of helping out one day to collect are very rewarding. After all, there are those people who wait for things to happen, and those who make those things happen. Hopefully, the Local 1132 firefighters will enter the spirited competition which so many IAFF Locals enjoy each year. This competition is healthy in getting the firefighters to raise more and more money each year.

If you would like to see Local 1132's MDA ambassador Cory Craighead visit the Local 1132 link. Cory came out this year with his father, Steve, to help us collect money for the MDA. Cory has recently received a brand new motorized wheelchair he is very proud of.

North Carolina firefighters are currently trying to pass legislation enabling them to collect at intersections:
For the third time in 12 weeks, the PFFPNC was successful in passing legislation to benefit IAFF Locals in North Carolina. The latest legislation paves the way for IAFF Locals to conduct fill-the-boot drives on state highway and road right-of-ways inside municipalities. The boot drives help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. On July 26, 2006, HB 1413 (with the PFFPNC amendment) was ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly. Current state law, G.S. 20-175, forbids fill-the-boot activities on state right-of-ways even when they are inside the boundaries of a local government. In years past, IAFF Locals conducted fill-the-boot drives across the state on highway and road right-of-ways.The State always turned a blind eye to this type of activity. In recent years, many cities and towns pointed to G.S. 20-175 as a liability and restricted fire fighters and paramedics from collecting money for MDA. Subsequently, the total amount of money raised dwindled. The PFFPNC asked that an amendment to overturn this General Statute be added to existing legislation. (Read More)
Virginia will likely look into legislation which would mimic NC's. These laws supercede those of the Local laws.

Next year will be our year. I look forward to seeing you out there.


Anonymous said...

Think of how well we COULD do if the city would allow each station on each shift to collect just ONE day.

On a similar note, its hard to comprehend the lack of turn out for such a worthy cause. I guess its understandable that most of us won't spend a couple hours a year for the welfare of others when we won't even spend an hour a month for ourselves.

How 'bout them priorities....

Anonymous said...

What do you think the members of Roanoke Fire-EMS do every day they work? They are looking after the WELFARE of others!

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right. Because we serve others in our career, we don't need to do things to help outside of our worklives? When we leave the station at 07:50, is that when we cease to concern ourselves with the "welfare of others"?

This is not an attack, I'm just trying to understand.

Just as importantly, my second point was that if we don't help ourselves (ie attending union meetings), who is going to help us. We're not going achieve salary increases or better benefits if we are not willing to take the time to work for them. The city is not going to give us money that we don't ask for.

As a side note, why don't we collectively work with other unions in the city (Police Dept.) since they likely have the same issues/salary?

Anonymous said...

I can answer that one. It's because most of the fire personnel are looking out for themselves. That is what the administration wants, that is what they hire, and that is what you get. Most firefighters around here don't know what it is to be a union brother. They think a union is a social club. They spout "brotherhood" until they can step on a brother to get promoted. And this is not just the "suck ups", it is just about everyone. So look in the mirror, Roanoke firefighters, and see why things are as bad as they are.

Anonymous said...

If a firefighter works his 56 hour work week and he does not want to help others, thats their choice! Maybe he is to busy working his full time job painting or being a plumber to concern himself with fund raising for MDA. You talk about brotherhood and working for our union,But what does fill the boot do for our pay or benifits? I think you are a little confused here this topic was about union members not coming out and helping with the MDA!Has nothing to do with us. Have a nice day

FireFleitz said...

To the last anonymous: I am a little confused by your comment. I understand part of it though. What you are not grasping is the big picture. Too many firefighters are too selfish to understand that just the smallest amount of philanthropy will do them good. If everyone is doing a little bit, it will amount to a lot. This creates a positive effect of ourselves in the public eye. Bonus * Public Relations *. I do not expect everyone to understand this concept. However, back in the day the guys understood. Those same men were able to accomplish great things. This positive PR helped.

This is a good example. The RFFA has a Fire Safety House. It used to go out all the time. Guys like Mutter and Wines and others used to take it out all over town and teach kids fire prevention. Nowadays, we can't get anyone to take it out hardly. Although Brad Harris has stepped up to the plate. So at the same time we are thinking about getting rid of our safety house, the Roanoke Fire-EMS is trying to get one. Who do you think will be taking that fire safety house out? You and I will be. Who will benefit? We will as firefighters in the Fire-EMS Department, however that is different from the benefit of helping the public outlook of the RFFA as we ask City Council for better pay, benefits, and the such.

Think about it.