THOMASVILLE -- Thomasville firefighters proved Monday they have a burning desire to help those less fortunate then them.

Chief Joe Cole and members of the Thomasville Fire Rescue department met with officials of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Monday evening in order to obtain fund-raiser kickoff information.

"Folks from the MDA were here to meet us and give us tips on fund raising," the chief said. "We collect each year for either the MDA or the Georgia Burn Foundation. Our guys just decided that we wanted to collect for MDA this year."

In addition, the emergency responders had the opportunity to meet with an MDA family that has benefited from the work of volunteer donation seekers and the generosity of others.

"This was a good way to get it started this year," Cole continued. "We had an opportunity to meet the family and find our where the money goes. Our guys are going to collect on all three shifts in strategic places. We won't be stopping traffic, but we may be in places where traffic is already stopped."

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary health agency, a dedicated partnership between scientists and concerned citizens aimed at conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans.

MDA combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive medical and community services, and far-reaching professional and public health education.

MDA will present the 38th annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The telethon will air for 21-1/2 hours beginning at 9 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 31. The Telethon can also be viewed on MDA's Web site, www.mdausa.org, via streaming video provided by RealNetworks. The broadcast raises funds and awareness to support MDA's programs of research and services benefiting people with neuromuscular diseases.

Along with entertainment, the telethon will educate viewers about neuromuscular diseases; MDA's cutting-edge, scientific search for treatments and cures; and the Association's life-enhancing service programs. The 2002 MDA Telethon set a record in pledges and donations of $58.3 million.

The local fund-raising event will last Aug. 28-30. Those who wish to donate can drop monetary gifts off at any of the Thomasville fire stations.

"We really hope this is successful," Cole concluded. "We are always happy to support the MDA and give back to the community."

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