Vail firefighter recognized for fundraising efforts |

Vail firefighter recognized for fundraising efforts

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail firefighter Mitch Raines organized the department's fundraising campaign for the Colorado Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association

VAIL, Colorado ” You might have seen Mitch Raines walking around Vail Village with a boot in hand, or getting dunked into a tank of water.

The Vail firefighter was recognized for organizing the fire department’s fundraising efforts by the Colorado Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association .

Raines was names Colorado Rookie Coordinator of the Year for 2008 for the most money raised by a first year coordinator.

Firefighters across the country participate in the fundraising through the “Fill the Boot” campaign through the International Association of Firefighters. Since 1954 the association has donated over $275 million. Vail Fire started participating in the fundraising in 1989.

Through Raines’ coordination, the Vail Fire Department raised $6,104 during the 2008 Labor Day weekend. The firefighters braved brisk weather during the two-day event taking turns manning a dunk tank. Money was raised by selling chances to dunk a firefighter by throwing balls at a target.

“The weather was pretty cold over the weekend and the water in the dunk tank never really warmed up,” said Raines. “But, this year if the weather cooperates, I’d like to double our contribution.”

Raines took over as fundraising coordinator for the department for fellow firefighter Bryan Cash, who is now serving with the Englewood fire department. Raines said he wanted to get more involved with the cause after meeting the eight-year-old Grand Junction girl that the department sponsors.

The funds raised in Vail go towards helping her family with doctor’s bills and costs of traveling for treatment, Raines said.

“Her story is pretty touching,” he said. “Getting to meet her and her family is what made me get attached.”

Raines is also working with the association’s Western Slope chapter to bring an muscular dystrophy kid’s camp to Vail where the kids would spend a week with Vail firefighters enjoying various mountain activities.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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