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Firefighters 'Fill the Boot' for Muscular Dystrophy Association

Beaverton middle-schooler Jordyn Valdez is MDA's Goodwill Ambassador.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jordyn Valdez, 13, chats with firefighter Trevor Nowak and Elizabeth Squires of the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the kick-off event for next week's 'Fill the Boot' fundraising campaign.Last year, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters broke a state record by raising $63,000 with their annual “Fill the Boot” fundraiser supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Thirteen-year-old Jordyn Valdez is doing her part to help local firefighters’ union members once again raise money and awareness for those like her who are impacted by the disease.

“I like being able to help, and helping people realize it’s a good cause they’re raising money for,” Jordyn said Tuesday during a media event at TVF&R’s Station 66 on Southwest Brockman Avenue to kick off next week’s donation drive.

Jordyn, an outgoing eighth-grader at Beaverton’s Five Oaks Middle School, is the 2016 MDA Goodwill Ambassador for Oregon and Southwest Washington. She’s already an expert at her role, having served in a similar capacity in 2011-12 while living in Hawaii.

“This is really important for us to be involved in,” said Ryan Schenk, one of two TVF&R firefighter-paramedics organizing the fundraiser, which will involve many of his fellow firefighters from across the district.

“It’s pretty cool to see the community pull together,” said Trevor Nowak, the other organizer.

“They could be spending their time doing all sorts of other things,” said Jordyn, who will go to Tigard High School next year, following a family move. “It’s really great.”

This year’s “Fill the Boot” campaign inside TVF&R’s service area includes the following drive-by donation events, all open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:

• Monday, May 16: At the Highway 217 ramp signals at Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Beaverton

• Tuesday, May 17: At Wilsonville Road near Interstate 5 (near Fred Meyer) in Wilsonville

• Saturday, May 21: At Bridgeport and Boones Ferry road intersections with Interstate 5 near Bridgeport Village (plus a donation booth that day in the shopping center)

Donations also may be made online.

Nationally, International Association of Fire Fighters union chapters participating in “Fill the Boot” campaigns have collected $558 million since the campaign first launched in the 1950s. Donations dropped into TVF&R firefighters’ boots have accounted for $563,000 over the past decade.

The money supports MDA’s support services for patients and their families, including support groups, clinics, medical equipment and other costs. The funds also support research into muscular dystrophy and ALS and pays for a free week of summer camp this July near Salem, according to Elizabeth Squires, MDA’s associate executive director in the region.

The summer camp is Jordyn’s favorite MDA beneficiary.

“Having MD is really hard,” she said. “What’s great about summer camp is there’s a lot of kids like me there.

“Nobody (at camp) really talks about what you can’t do,” added Jordyn, whose camp activities have included games of Capture the Flag and arts and crafts, among many others offered during the five-day camp. “It’s what you can do that’s important.”

By Eric Apalategui
Beaverton Reporter
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