Dancing to the tune of filling boots with cash, proceeds for Muscular Dystrophy

The annual Fill the Boot drive has raised as much as $62,629 in Rapid City.
Firefighters dancing on the side of the street in Rapid City for Fill the Boot Drive.
Firefighters dancing on the side of the street in Rapid City for Fill the Boot Drive.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 1:49 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - While a fire fighter’s boots are usually a critical component in protection from heat, for the next few days they’re being used to collect cash.

Fill the Boot is back, and 100-percent of proceeds go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

”It’s good to raise money for kids,” says Zach, Rapid City Firefighter. “It’s for a good cause.”

“We love being out in the community as much as possible,” says Kassidy Marta, Rapid City Firefighter. “Dancing around,” adds Shelynd Halls, Rapid City Firefighter, with a smile. Marta goes on to say that she enjoys “saying hi to everybody we can.”

Filling boots lefts and right. “It’s getting pretty heavy,” says John Potter, Rapid City Firefighter. “I’m going to have to swap it out with somebody else.”

Tessa Jaeger, Public Information Officer with the Rapid City Fire Department, says the drive flips the script from the norm, because “a lot of time when they’re seeing a member from our community it’s on their worst day.”

Instead, it’s just a chance to say hi. Something Marta says is key, because “a wave goes a long way in our minds.”

Jaeger says it’s an interaction proving a generous community, since “we lead the Midwest with the money that we raise.”

Last year, the department raised 53-thousand dollars. In 2017, 63-thousand. Which, is a record.

However, Jaeger says, “we always strive to be more and more.” Different crews each day around the city, with a competition afoot, where “each station tries to beat the other station with the most money raised.”

Going toe-to-toe, which Donavin Neugebauer, Rapid City Firefighter, says is for a good cause. “Being able to see the community come together just makes you feel special.”

During the pandemic when crews couldn’t go out and raise money, their online drive only rose 515-dollars. Jaeger says that goes to show how much of a difference it makes when firefighters are face-to-face with the community.

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