Fill-the-Boot drive by Taylor Fire Fighters Local 1252 to support Jerry's Kids

Members of Taylor Professional Fire Fighters Union Local 1252 will be among the dedicated heroes raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) the weekend of July 23-25.

Firefighters will be at the intersection of Eureka and Telegraph with their Fill-the-Boot campaign. All funds raised from generous donations from the community will go toward the quest to overcome life-changing neuromuscular diseases.

The members of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union (MPFFU) and members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are longtime supporters of MDA and the plight to eradicate diseases in the MDA program. Fill-the-Boot drives are the primary means by which the IAFF has raised $375 million for MDA since 1954. Last year, MPFFU locals raised $416,531 for the charity.

For several years, MPFFU members in Taylor have hit the streets with firefighter boots to help collect money to bring help and hope to “Jerry’s kids.” Last year, they raised more than $11,000 to benefit local families. This year, with the help of the Taylor community, they are looking to double that total.

Fill-the-Boot funds support MDA’s services locally and nationally, including medical clinics staffed with specialists in muscle disease and accessible summer camp for kids. Local clinics and camps benefiting from Fill-the-Boot funds include Children’s Hospital in Detroit, the Michigan Institute for Neuromuscular Disorders in Farmington Hills and three week-long sessions of summer camp at Camp Cavell in Lexington.

Local research is currently being performed at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. There are more than 1,800 families affected within the neuromuscular disease in the Metro Detroit area.

“This charity is important to Local 1252 because the IAFF has been helping MDA for 50-plus years, which has resulted in significant progress in finding treatments and getting closer to cures for the many types of muscular dystrophy,” said Taylor Fire Medic Bryan Schwesing, vice president of Local 1252 and chairman of the MDA drive.

“It became even more personal to me after meeting some of the young children and young adults who were living with this disease,” Schwesing added. “This year, we learned of our local Taylor family who has a young girl with muscular dystrophy. The fact that we can get out and help our Taylor family makes it that much more satisfying.

Schwesing said that this year firefighters will attend summer camp and help kids with activities they would not otherwise get to partake in, such as swimming and dancing.

Founded in 1950, MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat more than 40 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive service and far-reaching professional and public health education. The association’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributions.

For more information, please contact Sarah Grutza, fund-raising coordinator, at (734) 416-7076 or visit the website

Taylor firefighters meet with Autumn Persinger, a 5 1/2-year-old Taylor girl, at City Hall.  In the front row are Lt. Stan
Pochron (left), Fire Medic Bill Dudek, Autumn and Fire Chief Stephen Portis. In the back row are Battalion Chief Bob
Tompos (left), Autumn's mom Wendy Persinger, Battalion Chief Ronald McNamee and Sarah Grutza of the Muscular
Dystrophy Association. Lt. Pochron is president of Taylor Professional Firefighters Local 1252, which will conduct a
Fill-the-Boot drive July 23-25 to raise funds for the MDA.

Taylor, Michigan