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Firefighters stood on the streets of Hillsboro asking for money from passing drivers for three days.

No, the Hillsboro Fire Department isn’t requiring them to panhandle — the effort was part of the annual “Fill the Boot” fundraiser.

Donations go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a group of scientists and citizens searching for a cure for 40 neuromuscular diseases — and to help send children suffering from the disease to summer camp.

“I held a sign and yelled at the cars,” said Kobey Bonin. “Gotta bring the enthusiasm!”

The 15-year-old is Oregon’s 2013 MDA Goodwill Ambassador, a role in which he goes to businesses that raise money for the cause and thanks them personally.

This year, the Hillsboro firefighters’ goal was to raise $20,000 in citizen contributions that would go specifically to patients in Oregon. Career and volunteer firefighters, families and other volunteers staffed five donation locations around the city Aug. 7 to 9.

This year the boot overflowed as firefighters raised $21,011 for MDA.

Bonin was diagnosed seven years ago and has volunteered with “Fill the Boot” for the last six.

“When I was first diagnosed, it was a really big deal to my dad,” said Bonin.

He said his father wanted him to be able to play sports and participate in typical father-son activities. But volunteering with fundraisers like “Fill the Boot” has helped Bonin and his dad bond in a different way.

“It’s been a really positive experience because of the support I’ve received from my family, the hospital and other volunteers,” said Bonin.

Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of more than 400 neuromuscular diseases that cause generalized weakness and muscle degeneration.

Children with some of these diseases are only until they’re in their 20s.

Last year, Hillsboro Firefighters collected more than $13,000 for the campaign.

This year, marks the 59th year anniversary of the national partnership between firefighters and MDA.

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