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posted: 8/29/2013 4:11 PM

Buffalo Grove firefighters fill boots for MDA

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Buffalo Grove firefighters will be filling their boots with donations this weekend as they help in the fight against muscular dystrophy.

Firefighters will be standing at the corner of Dundee and Buffalo Grove roads Friday, using their boots to collect money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. They'll also be collecting during Buffalo Grove Days at the First Aid tent, before the Haley Reinhart concert Saturday night and Sunday during the Buffalo Grove Days parade.

Buffalo Grove Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Alexander said this is the 19th year the department has participated in the MDA fundraiser. Alexander has been in charge of the event for 16 years.

The drive started as a firefighters union event, but has since grown to include the entire village.

"We went from $3,500 to $10,000 in one year," he said. "We went from 15 volunteers to 45, and now we average anywhere between 40 and 60 volunteers every year."

These days, collecting is a little more of a challenge, he said.

"Less people carry cash," he said. "Everyone's charging everything now. So that has kind of affected our totals. We're getting more change because people aren't just carrying the paper in their wallets anymore."

Still, the effort continues to prove enormously successful. Alexander said the highest total collected by the Buffalo Grove crew was $27,600. Last year, the group collected $24,000.

Over the years, the group has collected more than $300,000, making it the first village in the state to reach that mark. Buffalo Grove has been the state champion fundraiser three times and in the top five the last 16 years.

"We're very proud of that," Alexander said, crediting the generosity of volunteers, which have included not only firefighters, but also police officers, public works employees and public officials.

"Without people donating -- the residents and the commuters that drive through our town -- we wouldn't be collecting anything," he added.

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