– Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask
stopped by the Engine 7 fire station in Back Bay Wednesday evening, and even though he wasn’t on the ice – he was still decked out in equipment.
Rask donned a firefighter’s uniform – complete with an axe and oxygen tank – as he met with three ambassadors from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and local fire fighters to kick off the “Fill the Boot” campaign.
“Today was really fun,” Rask said. “We had a couple kids here and showed them around the fire trucks, had me put the gear on and made them laugh a little bit. So it was just about showing these kids the fire station and having a good day.”
Rask was joined by the MDA’s state goodwill ambassadors, 10-year-old Gregory and 6-year-old Daniel from Cohasset, as well as local goodwill ambassador 12-year old Kate from North Reading.
“It’s fun being an ambassador, I like how we get to do things that even kids without muscular dystrophy don’t get to do,” Kate said. “It makes me happy to do things, even though I am different.”
On Monday, the MDA, firefighters, and ambassadors will help collect money throughout the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs game Monday.
The firefighters association with the MDA began in 1954 when firefighter George Graney initiated the collection effort and put canisters in local stores in South Boston to support the disease.
“We’re proud because the whole history of this firefighter’s association with MDA started in Boston,” Steve MacDonald said, who is the Boston fire department’s spokesperson. “It’s been millions raised every year, it’s a great collaborative effort between the fire fighter’s union and the MDA and it continues to this day.”
Rask, who actively visits pediatric patients at local hospitals, was excited for the opportunity to interact with the MDA’s ambassadors.
“[Muscular Dystrophy is] really something that concerns a lot of people, especially in the Boston area,” Rask said. “I know a lot of kids who suffer from that, and it was nice to see them do the real stuff and see us here.
"Raising money for them is a really key thing for the organization.”
Ed Kelly, the President of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, was as equally thrilled to have Rask stop by.
“I think it’s great for the Bruins to get involved, and for Tuukka to come to the firehouse, Kelly said. “I think it will really gear people up for the ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign. And it’s really all about these kids.
"These kids are such great kids, and it’s great the MDA is there to help them and we’re glad to be a part of it and partner with the Bruins to make that happen.”--- Anthony Gulizia