The Commerce Journal

October 2, 2012

Donation demonstrates Commerce community, fire department cares

more than $6,800 raised for muscular dystrophy association

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The Commerce Fire Department raised more than $6,800 during their annual Fill the Boot event, held May 10-12. The total represents an increase over last year’s total. The money was delivered by the fire department to Tatiana Higdon, executive director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, last week.

“There are 68 individuals with muscular dystrophy and related diseases in Hunt County,” Higdon said. “We do our best use the money raised in Hunt County for individuals in the county.”

According to Higdon, MDA is a non-profit organization that receives no government funding.

“Anytime anyone is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, they can come to our clinics and we provide them with medical care, physical therapy, neurologists- anything they need,” she said. “We also send individuals to Camp John Marc.”

Firefighters are MDA’s biggest non-corporate sponsor, and departments in Texas give more than any other state, Higdon said.

“The community needs to be recognized for their giving,” firefighter Gabe Wittkopf said. “It’s a collaboration of our work and effort and the support of Commerce.”

The fire department has been participating in the event for close to a decade, and each year they strive to raise more money that the year before.

“It’s a good challenge for us, to try and beat last year’s total,” firefighter Josh Cato said. “Our job is to help people in this city, and we see this event as an extension of that.”

The firefighters that participated are as follows: Chief Jack Berni, Captain Joe Pretre

Lieutenant Robby Speight, Tom Spradling, Jeremy Littlefield, Captain William Hall, Lieutenant Donnie Powers, Joe Martello, Jason Maxwell, Captain Mike Ross, Lieutenant Josh Cato, Chris Bassham, Gabe Wittkopf and former member Chief Brian McNevin and Bruce Millard. There were also several part-time firefighters that participated in the event.

For more information on the services MDA provides and how to give, visit