Fill the boot for MDA

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

When he was only seven years old, Jason McManigle watched while his family's Pennsylvania home burned to the ground.

It obviously left a very strong mark on him and his entire family.

McManigle, who is a member of the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department, along with Harry Driggers of the Brantley VFD, and Dale Shepard, a member of the Fuller's Cross Roads VFD, were special guests at the June 20 meeting of the Luverne Kiwanis Club. In addition, Jennifer Young, the MDA District Director out of Montgomery, was the guest speaker.

Young and the volunteer fire department members reminded everyone of the &#8220Fill the Boot” project, which started in April and runs through Labor Day. All proceeds will go toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The volunteer firefighters will be standing in downtown Luverne and on West 3rd Street near the red light this Saturday, July 1 beginning at 9 a.m. to take donations and &#8220fill the boots” with money for research and aid for muscular dystrophy patients.

According to McManigle, over $3,000 has been raised in Crenshaw County over the last two weekends.

Young, who oversees fundraising events, said that the money is used to help families who have children with MD. They can purchase new wheelchairs, scooters, braces, or even provide financial assistance with omni communication devices. Funds raised also help to send children with muscular dystrophy to summer camps each year at Lake Martin at no cost to the parents.

&#8220Last year, Crenshaw County raised over $10,000 for MDA,” Young said. &#8220It seems like the smaller the town, the bigger the heart. Plus, I want people to know that what is raised here, stays here.”

As for McManigle, being a volunteer fire fighter and providing help for others just seems to run in the family.

&#8220After the fire, we made a new start in Luverne,” he said. &#8220My mom has family here.”

His father, Bill McManigle, is chief of the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department and has been a volunteer for over 20 years. Jason is a captain and has been a volunteer for 11 years, while his brother John is a lieutenant and has been a volunteer for 12 years.

&#8220After watching my house burnŠ.that's why I do it,” he said. &#8220I want to be able to help others any way I can.”