WFD has banner year for MDA donations


September 1, 2012

Rachel Dove-Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON - In today’s economy with numerous Tug Valley residents being out of work and finding themselves in a financial crunch, donations for the 2012 Muscular Dystrophy Associations (MDA) annual “Boot Day” for the Williamson Fire Dept. (WFD) was not expected to meet, let alone exceed, the amount collected in 2011.

The result of Friday’s fundraiser not only proved this theory wrong, but speaks loudly of the generosity and kindness of Mingo and Pike County residents who dipped into their wallets and together, donated a whopping $5,200 within a 9 hour period.

“I wouldn’t have believed we could collect over $5,000 with so many local people laid off from their jobs,” stated Lt. Joey Carey of the WFD, who headed up this year’s Boot Day. “We were set up on both bridges in town with all of our fulltime firefighters participating, along with several of our part-paid guys.”

“We were amazed and very humbled to see how generous everyone was, and we can’t thank them enough for their continued support for this worthwhile cause.”

The WFD is hopeful they will garner the title of top fire department in the state per capita, for donations, as they have done many times in the past. Those results will be released within the next few days.

For the firefighters participating in this year’s Boot Day, 2012 was an emotional year, as a familiar face that had been present for the last 5 years was no longer with them. Zach Baisden, a Riverside Elementary student who suffered from MD, passed away earlier this year. He was a definite source of inspiration for the WFD, who admired his courage, his attitude and his commitment for the annual fundraiser that raised money to aid in someday, finding a cure for the debilitating disease that had him confined to a wheelchair.

“Zack’s parents came by the roadblock on Friday and helped up collect money,” remarked Carey. “They were wearing t-shirts with Zach’s picture on them, and it broke or hearts to look at the photo of his smiling face, knowing that he would have been right there with us from the time we began until the last dollar was collected.”

“We miss him so much, and we appreciate Scott and Brandy coming out and being a part of Boot Day. I know it was very difficult for them to be there without Zach by their side.”

One of Zach’s close friends and former classmates, Josh Wellman, volunteered his time and stood in the place where Zach would have been. According to the firefighters, it touched the hearts of all who attended.

“Once again, on behalf of all the members of the Williamson Fire Department, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who contributed during this year’s MDA Boot Day,” said Carey. “Whether it was a $20 or loose change, it all adds up, and it all matters.”

“You could search the world over and not find a community that comes together when needed like the Tug Valley area does. We’re fortunate to live where we do.”

“We were astonished by the outpouring of support you gave us and you’re all to be commended for your unselfish donations,” concluded Carey.