'Fill the boot' charity campaign gets the boot from attorney general

Hardworking firefighters spending the week fighting both fires and muscular dystrophy with well-known "Fill the Boot" fundraisers may look like he's doing a good deed -- but a recent ruling from the attorney general's office says they're breaking the law.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion, saying what they're doing is illegal, and some firefighters don't appreciate the opinion.

"They are geeked about doing (the fundraiser)," said Verdine Day of the Detroit Firefighters Association. "We have some guys who just can't wait to do it. They even volunteer on their days off. We have some that are coming down here today that worked all day yesterday. They love doing this because they love helping the kids."

MLive reported Friday that Schuette recently ruled that anyone who stands in the road to illicit contributions is violating Michigan's uniform traffic code -- even if it's for a good cause.

"That's where our heart is ... with younger kids," Day said.

Firefighters have been raising money this way for 63 years. Monty Nye of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Association said they are the top fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and have raised more than a half billion dollars nationally for the MDA over the years.

Day said the firefighters are not about to stop just because of the ruling.

"He's entitled to his opinion, but we have been doing this with MDA for 13 years," she said. "I don't understand what the problem is, and we're going to keep doing it."

Many firefighters do this while on duty, but duty always comes first -- the fundraising doesn't affect response time or their ability to do their service.

"It's a lot on them, but they still love to do the community service," Day said.