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A Touching Letter Written By: Derek Vintinner
Posted On: Dec 339, 2009

Lewiston City Council



My name is Derek Vintinner I am 12 years old and I have Duchenne Muscular dystrophy. I have been the State of Maine Ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy for the last two years because of all of the work I do in trying to find a cure for neuromuscular diseases. The Lewiston Fire Department raises thousands of dollars every year in helping find a cure. They raise money for Muscular Dystrophy because they want to find a cure so that children like myself can live happy healthy lives.



I have had people tell me that the Balloon festival is where they usually give to the Fill the Boot. If the firefighters are not able to raise money at the Lewiston Balloon Festival these people will not be able to give to help find a cure.   The Lewiston Fire Department is not out for their own benefit they truly want to find a cure. I went to Heroes for Hope Banquet a couple of weeks ago and the firefighters from Maine met some children just like me and they are ready to help raise money to find a cure.


The money that is raised by the firefighters also helps children like myself go to camp and do things like speed boating, fishing, riding Harleys and four wheelers, and playing sports with friends who also have physical disabilities. Money raised also helps with equipment we may need like wheelchairs, braces and other things to help us with our disease.


About two years ago I met a firefighter Phil Julian on the Lewiston Fire Department and he was not only there helping find a cure, he has also become a great friend to me realizing by getting to know me how much a cure is needed. He always includes me in every fundraiser they have for Muscular Dystrophy and invites me down just to visit all of the time. Last summer the Lewiston Fire Department made me an honorary member of Local 785. I want to be a fire fighter so that I can help people just like they have helped me, but if we don’t find a cure my dream of becoming a fire fighter may not happen. So please let the firefighters raise money at the Lewiston Balloon Festival.


A friend of mine passed away last week with cancer because there is not cure. Her name was Abby and she was 12 just like I am right now.   So please let the Lewiston Firefighters raise money at the Balloon Festival to help find a cure for Neuromuscular Diseases.


For just one minute I would like to ask if everyone here would just think about how you would feel if you could not run, jump or even sometimes walk.   Or how you would feel if you had to watch your child fall down and not be able to get up by him or herself.   Sometimes I have to crawl onto the school bus while friends watch from their seats. I am not able to play sports like the rest of my friends. I have therapy at school that makes me very tired I also take steroids that make me gain weight and are not good for my heart and lungs but they keep muscles as strong as they can, with a cure I would not have to take them anymore.


I also know a lot of the other firefighters some who are here tonight, like Rick Cailler, Carlos Ortiz and Matt Wiers who want to help raise money to find a cure so that children with Muscular Dystrophy wont have to suffer anymore, we will finally be able to live long happy healthy lives. So please I am asking that the Lewiston Firefighter’s be allowed to Fill the Boot at the Lewiston Balloon Festival so all of our dreams can finally come true.



”And always remember whenever you see a fireman with a boot fill it”


Thank you 

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Local #785 in Memory of:
Captain Phillip Basinet
1867 - 1909
Private Thomas King
1881 - 1909
 Private John B Byrnes
1872 - 1910
Captain Russell Tarr
1901 - 1949
Private Marcien Vallee
1922- 1949
Captain Willie Mailhot
1904 - 1965
Private Paul Nadeau
1913 - 1966
Lieutenant Emilien Couture
1926 - 1967
Private Gerard  R. Desjardins
1947 - 1982
Important Links
Professional Firefighters of Maine
IAFF Local 785
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