'Fill the Boot’ Devils Lake makes over $8,000 for MDA

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
McKenzie Oppen

McKenzie Oppen is a recent graduate from Devils Lake High School who has stepped up and taken on a big project in the community.

Oppen has been the local coordinator for the “Fill the Boot” project for Muscular Dystrophy in cooperation with the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Throughout the weekend of Devils Run, when the community is bursting with visitors from far and near, Oppen, local firefighters and a few other friends - like Sparky - collected donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by providing firemen’s boots instead of collection plates or jars. Volunteers could be found nearly everywhere this past weekend, near the fire truck parked at Leevers North or the one parked near Walmart. They also walked the entire parade route working in pairs on both sides of the street receiving donations and thanking folks for their generosity.

Oppen knows first-hand how vital it is to receive those donations for MDA because both her mother, Tamera Oppen, and aunt, Brenda Oppen, live with muscular dystrophy. Oppen’s late grandfather had it, as well.

She got involved with this because her family understand all too well how grateful they have been for the help they have received.

Oppen also says donations go to send kids with MD to camp each summer. Without the financial help, many would not be able to attend.

She also says that research is continuing and lately they have seen some progress that may one day lead to a way to treat MD, maybe even one day a cure.

Since she has been helping with the project Oppen has learned that MD is not as rare as she thought. She says she has visited with many people who know someone or have someone close to them who lives with MD.

“It shocked me,” she said.

“I didn’t know how many people’s lives were effected by MD.”

The “Fill the Boot” campaign in Devils Lake took in $8,300 this year, according to Fire Chief Jim Moe. The amount was similar to last year’s amount collected.