Belton firefighters’ boots filling up with funds for MDA

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BELTON, Mo. - Firefighters in Belton raised money for charity on Labor Day weekend after all, despite the city deciding they couldn't do it while on the clock.

Driver after driver tossed some change into a boot held by a firefighter Saturday on the corner of Y Highway and 58.  They are helping to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a part of the 'Fill the Boot' campaign.

Steve Kratofil said they have raised a lot of money just in the first day.

"We collected over $6,700, which actually beat years past for our whole entire weekend that we've collected," Kratofil said.  "It's been a long fight for several months now and the great thing is we're finally here on the weekend," he said.

That's because the city decided it didn't want firefighters to do it while on the clock, even though firefighters said they have been doing it this way for more than 50 years.

But some on-duty firefighters did get to collect Saturday because the Local 42 firefighters union took the issue to court. They got a temporary restraining order against the city.

"I think the publicity over everything, whether it was good or bad, the best thing is now MDA is going to have a great weekend because of our city," Kratofil said.

Firefighters said they're now waiting for an evidence hearing where a judge will rule in the case and then maybe a decision from as high up as the attorney general.

"I don't know if they're going to go to court and get a ruling. That's what I'm wanting is to have a finality to this," Kratofil said.

He said he wants to know the legal way to collect for next year and other organizations that do similar fundraisers. The restraining order expires Saturday night. That means any collecting Sunday will all have to be done by off-duty firefighters.

FOX 4 also contacted the city's mayor by phone, but did not hear back.

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