Local 1950's `Fill the Boot' drive raises more than $17K for Muscular Dystrophy Association

Johnston Sun Rise ·

Few Rhode Island unions have enjoyed as much success as Johnston Association of Fire Fighters Local 1950.

As proof, the union recently completed its annual Muscular Dystrophy Association drive by raising a record-shattering $17,250.

“It’s a far cry from the $1,000 we started this year’s drive with back in June,” Local 1950 Vice President Jon Pistacchio aptly noted.

“We are happy to announce we have broken all previous records,” said Keith Calci, Local 1950’s president. “This is an outstanding feat. It gives every single member of our union a great feeling. Also, we’d like to thank everyone who helped and to say this is an extraordinary amount of money for any volunteer group to raise.”

Calci and Pistacchio, along with other Local 1950 brothers, also wanted it known that much of the credit for the success of this year’s drive goes to Firefighter Ryan Elmasian.

“Ryan was responsible for coordinating the times that Johnston firefighters go out and collect,” Pistacchio said. “He was constantly making sure there were enough supplies and stickers in hand, and he also had the thankless job of separating and sorting over $17,000 into various denominations … from pennies to nickels to quarters and event $100 bills.”

Much of the record-setting amount was raised during the annual Fill the Boot Drive held throughout the country on Labor Day weekend.

However, as Pistacchio pointed out: “Ryan also represents Local 1950 at various MDA events throughout the year, and that includes the annual Boot Camp.”

Elmasian was ecstatic about the record-shattering total he and his brotherhood of firefighters took in.

“This year’s MDA campaign was a phenomenal success due to the undying support of the citizens of the town of Johnston and the commuters who travel through it,” he said. “Along with countless numbers of generous people and the firefighters who represent Local 1950, 2016 turned out to be our most successful year ever.”

The two union leaders also issued a special thanks to Mayor Joseph Polisena “for giving us the opportunity to make this ‘Fill the Boot Campaign’ so successful. As a retired firefighter, the mayor knows how important MDA is to us and to the children and adults with musical dystrophy, ALS, and other related muscular diseases.”

They also noted the relationship between the International Association of Fire Fighters and the MDA is 62 years strong.

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