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Firefighters blame city officials for low MDA fundraiser amount

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A change to how firefighters in Fort Wayne can raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association has apparently had a big negative impact on donations.

Every year, Fort Wayne firefighters “fill the boot” for the MDA by asking people to drop donations into a boot. In years past they’d do that at certain intersections, but a new city policy that went into effect just days before the fundraiser calls that “unsafe” and ordered them to do it elsewhere.

City Spokesman John Perlich tells our Partners in News at ABC 21 why they made the move:

“There have been some cases in other places and other cities where they’ve had some injuries with firefighters collecting funds for whatever reason. And we just didn’t want to see that happen here.”

But Jeremy Bush of the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters says that move cost them thousands of dollars in donations, because firefighters weren’t as visible. Last year, they collected $100,000… this year it was $36,000.

“Putting in ramps, buying wheelchairs, things of that nature, that’s really what was lost in all this, this year… the families that are impacted by losing around $70,000 in donations,” Bush says.

Bush adds that firefighters will work more closely with businesses next year to set up more donation opportunities.

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