The Cape Coral fire union nearly reached its goal of raising $30,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with the 2012 MDA Boot Drive alone.
The Cape Coral Professional Firefighters Local 2424 raised approximately $29,681 at the annual fund-raiser, which was held April 13 through 15. Off-duty and on-duty firefighters set up at about a dozen Cape intersections.
"We're absolutely ecstatic," President Brendan Fonock said. "It feels good for the guys, especially when the drive is well received by the community."
The union raised just over $13,000 during last year's event.
"This is the most that I'm aware of that we've ever been able to raise," he said of this year's total.
Fonock attributed the success to having more feet on the streets.
In the past, only off-duty firefighters could volunteer to participate. This year, on-duty personnel were also set up at intersections with trucks.
"Each station went out at a particular time, I guess, when they thought traffic would be the best," he said, adding that service was not affected.
"It went very smoothly," Fonock said. "People were happy to see them, and happy to see them being on duty and collecting (donations)."
One of the highlights of the drive was one person donated a $100 bill.
"Most of the time, it's one or two dollars or a five," he said.
The union also had a tent set up at the April 14 Bike Night, where the firefighters handed out bottles of water for a donation to the drive.
Fonock noted that the union raised about $718 in February during a fund-raiser at Harley-Davidson, which will be added to the Boot Drive money.
The International Association of Firefighters and MDA have been working together since 1954. According to Fonock, the Cape union has been taking part in the fund-raiser since the organization's inception about 35 years.
"It's an extremely important charity to us," he said.
This year, Local 2424 dedicated its drive to firefighter Kelly Crush, of Texas, who passed away a few weeks ago from Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS.
According to Fonock, Crush was as a spokesman for MDA in his last years.
"MDA is a great organization, a great charity that helps out with research and treatment," he said.
Fonock offered thanks to residents and visitors who donated.
"It's absolutely a very warm heartfelt reception and we appreciate their contributions," he said. "We know that the children and everybody that is assisted by the MDA does as well."
Money raised helps fund research and summer camps, and also serves as financial assistance for families affected by muscular diseases. There are 43 neuromuscular diseases covered by the MDA, including Lou Gehrig's disease.
The MDA does not receive funding from local, state or federal governments, nor does it seek out or receive fees for its services, according to Fonock.