RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two Suffolk firefighters completed a 130-mile walk across the state Friday, to raise awareness and money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Lt. Travis Saunders and Fire Medic Joe Jarman, both with the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Department, started their journey in Virginia Beach on Monday.
Friday, Saunders and Jarman walked from Richmond’s Main Street Station to the State Capitol, along with fellow firefighters and others in the community affected by muscular dystrophy, to finish the last leg of their 130-mile hike. Along the way, they also stopped in Chesapeake, Suffolk, Smithfield, Charles City and Henrico.
“Being a firefighter, you want to help,” said Jarman. “And firefighters, they have been tied to fill the boot. What better way than to help someone else out in another way, another fashion?”
The walk kicks off the MDA’s annual “Fill-the-Boot” fundraiser, where firefighters take to the streets around the nation to collect donations for kids and adults with neuromuscular diseases. During their journey, Saunders and Jarman raised more than $20,000.
“It just shows how someone puts their mind together for something bigger than themselves,” said Saunders. “It shows that everyone comes together. Family, friends and strangers, all to raise money for a good cause.”
“I’m going to try not to cry on this,” said Mandy Williams, whose 9-year-old son Cole Terrill has MD. “Just to know people who are not directly affected by it are raising awareness. And with awareness funds are being raised.”
This is the 65th year for this fundraiser and partnership between the MDA and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Over the last 65 years, firefighters have raised more than $650 million for MDA to fund research, therapies and treatments.