For 65 years, when not fighting fires, IAFF locals have been fighting another ongoing threat — muscular dystrophy, a disease that includes more than 40 neuromuscular disorders.

The IAFF designated MDA as its charity of choice at the 1954 IAFF Convention, and the partnership has been going strong ever since. In addition to Fill the Boot campaigns, IAFF affiliates sponsor golf tournaments, bowling competitions, softball tournaments and other fundraisers.

What began as a neighborhood campaign drive among local fire fighters has grown into something much larger.

George Graney, a member of Boston, MA Local 718, became one of the first fire fighters to contribute to the cause. Graney was looking for a way to help his friend, Charles Crowley, whose two sons were diagnosed with neuromuscular disease.

Graney rallied 20 colleagues from his local, and they went door to door in Boston neighborhoods seeking donations to help the Crowley family. This is how the Fill the Boot tradition was born.

IAFF locals have raised more than $650 million to fund research grants, summer camps for children with muscular dystrophy and public health campaigns.

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