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      Hannibal firefighters raise big bucks for MDA

      Firefighters from Hannibal decided to hold a fundraiser for a charitable cause Saturday

      Firefighters risk their lives every day to keep us safe. Whether it's running into a burning building or pulling someone from a car wreck, they are always there to protect us.

      So it's no surprise a group of firefighters from Hannibal decided to hold a fundraiser for a charitable cause Saturday.

      Mark Kempker and his fellow firefighters are collecting money for a good cause.

      "We're having our annual MDA boot drive which is for Jerry Lewis' telethon, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and one of the biggest organizations that donates for the cause. It's for muscular dystrophy," Kempker said.

      For more than ten years, Kempker held out a boot for this drive. But it also connects with him on a more personal level.

      "Well, actually my wife has a cousin that suffers from muscular dystrophy. When he was younger, he could actually walk on his own. He's in his 40s, Kempker said. It affects the muscle systems where you end up not having control over your own muscular functions."

      For several hours, with the sun beating down on their backs, they stood outside of a local grocery store filling their boots with loose change and dollars.

      "We've just had a steady stream. We've got several of our off duty firefighters here, Kempker said. We've got three different boots out here and they've been continuously accepting donations."

      "I think anything that we can do to help find a cure for these diseases is very important," Donna Calhoun, a Hannibal resident, said.

      Around 15 to 20 firefighters collected money, and shared positive conversations with anyone who passed by or donated.

      "So it's a great working relationship between the community, our local and the Hannibal Fire Department," Kempker said.

      Their cause didn't just help bring more attention to the MDA. It also helped Donna Calhoun stop and think about how grateful she is to be a part of the Hannibal community.

      "All this charity that's been going on in the community is wonderful," Calhoun said.

      Kempker hopes every cent collected, will help the MDA make a difference in people's lives.

      "So, if we can find a cure, that's just one less thing, we'll have to worry about down the road, Calhoun said.

      Kempker hopes they'll raise more than $2,000 for MDA.