Justin Horton had the better spot for soliciting donations along the Kenai Spur Highway, but Abe Porter had a secret weapon.
As the two firefighters hustled up and down the intersection of the highway and Bridge Access Road in Kenai, Porter’s 2-year-old daughter, Eden played with the over-sized firefighting hat her dad had given to her — it matched the tiny black and green striped firefighting outfit she wore and many passersby stopped, grinned and dug out their wallets to toss a few dollars into Porter’s boot.
“We’re on kind of the slow side of the street,” he said as Eden sat happily on his shoulders, occasionally reaching into cars to take money from friendly strangers.
A crew of several off-duty firefighters with the Kenai Firefighters Association launched the Kenai Fire Department’s first fill-the-boot campaign. They spent four hours Friday waving their fire boots in the air, soliciting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
It paid off.
They raised just over $7,688 for the association.
Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker said the campaign was held later in the year than what is typical for fire departments.
“Typically, it’s Labor Day weekend,” he said. “But, the logistics of doing it properly and hosting the fire conference was challenging for us.”
But, despite the chilly evening and setting sun, boots were filling quickly as drivers honked, waved and stopped — sometimes in the middle of traffic — to pass a few dollars into a boot.
“This is a way for firefighters to give back to the community, it’s a cause that we support and we like to be involved with the community,” Tucker said.