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A Strong Tradition

A millennial fire fighter works to keep the IAFF-MDA connection strong

Like many kids, Vince Van Binsbergen, 26, wanted to be a fire fighter when he grew up. 

“I used to run around with a fake EMT bag,” says the California native, laughing.

Van Binsbergen never outgrew that dream, and at age 15, he enrolled in a fire explorer program, where he learned what being a fire fighter is all about. After high school, he moved to Colorado and served as a volunteer fire fighter for the Elk Creek fire department while working as an EMT. After about three years, a paid position opened up, and he’s been working for the Elk Creek Fire Department Local 4710 ever since.

Even before becoming a fire fighter, Van Binsbergen experienced the strong connection between fire fighters and MDA.

“It goes back to when I was an explorer in California,” he says. “They helped out with Fill the Boot, and that was my first time being involved with MDA. When I got out here as a volunteer, I did Fill the Boot, and once I became full time, they handed me the reins of MDA coordinator.”

As MDA coordinator, Van Binsbergen saw the effect his fundraising has on the MDA community firsthand.

“What really got me into it was going to a boot camp and meeting all the families and the kids,” he says. “Hearing the stories of how MDA has helped them, that made me want to continue being the coordinator to raise more money.”

And Van Binsbergen has taken that role to heart, helping his department raise more than $58,800 for MDA since he started as coordinator. 

“We’re a small department with nine full-time fire fighters, and the only stoplight we have is on the highway, so we fill the boot in front of stores,” he says. 

Beyond his impressive fundraising, Van Binsbergen is also a member of the MDA/IAFF National Millennial Committee, which aims to deepen the relationship between millennial fire fighters and MDA. Having seen what MDA can do for its families, Van Binsbergen is excited about engaging his colleagues in the cause.

“We want to get more people involved and continue the tradition between IAFF and MDA,” he says. “That’s really what the committee is doing — trying to keep that tradition alive.”

Get involved and support MDA Fill the Boot events near you by becoming an MDA volunteer. Sign up today!

Pictured above: Vince Van Binsbergen (left) enjoys coordinating Fill the Boot for his fire department.

Fire Fighters Give Muscular Dystrophy the Boot

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) members have stood by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for more than six decades, making a huge difference in the lives of families affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening disease. Through their support of events like Fill the Boot, their support has helped make new treatments available to MDA families, created a pipeline of many more potential treatments through research, and supported MDA’s efforts to provide urgently needed care and support to families in hometowns across America.

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Our trained specialists are here to provide one-on-one support for every part of your journey. Send a message below or call us at 1-833-ASK-MDA1 (1-833-275-6321). If you live outside the U.S., we may be able to connect you to muscular dystrophy groups in your area, but MDA services are only available in the U.S.