SHERMAN, Texas -- The Sherman Fire Department will participate in the annual "Fill the Boot" campaign on Friday and Saturday at the Town Center, which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. But for one recently retired fireman, it's a cause that really hits home.
After more than 25 years with Sherman FD, Gerald Brown is now retired. But it's not because he was too old or didn't want to be a firefighter anymore.
It was because of his son.
"I know he loves his job.. And I didn't want him to retire," Joshua Brown, Gerald Brown's son, said.
Joshua has Muscular Dystrophy -- a disease that's severely limited his mobility.
But he will soon attend Grayson College, and his dad will be right at his side.
"In order to further his education and quality of life someone has to be with him 24 hours a day," Gerald Brown said.
It's because of Joshua's disease that the "Fill the Boot" campaign is such a special cause to both Sherman firemen and the Brown family.
"Last year we raised over $12,000," Mason Beaver, of the Sherman Firefighters Association Local 2002, said. "This year we're hoping that Texoma can help us raise over $20,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association."
One hundred percent of the money the firefighters collect goes to the MDA, Beaver explained, which then funds research into finding a cure for the disease.
But that money also helps in another way.
The MDA has aided in sending Joshua to a camp in Meridian, Texas for children with his same disease.
"It's really a blast. You do everything that you could imagine at a normal camp," Joshua tells News 12.
That includes rock climbing and zip lining with among kids just like him.
"I felt normal... for the first time in my life," he said.
Gerald Brown said going to the camp was also an incredible experience for him, as a father, by seeing that there are so many other children dealing with MD.
"And the counselors and the firemen and nurses that go down to camp, they're the really handicapped ones," Brown added.
Joshua said he has a strong bond with Sherman firemen, having grown up with them.
The Brown family plans to stop by as firemen collect donations at the Town Center on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and again from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
"It kinda rings home to all of us to help get rid of this bad disease," Beaver said.
But that bond will never come close to the one of a father and son.
"He left what he loved doing for me.. so, there's not really any words for that," Joshua said.
"I love doing for you too, though. Don't forget that," Brown said.