PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For decades, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has given back to the community by raising money to support local children and adults battling Muscular Dystrophy, and now a fellow firefighter's son is battling the disease.
Like any little boy, 10-year-old Logan Petz moves at a fast speed. He enjoys playing with his three younger brothers and loves learning about history.
"Weapons, tanks, battleships, marines," said Logan.
But as he grows older, Logan's body is forced to fight a debilitating muscle disorder.
"We noticed, in the beginning, Logan was not meeting his milestones," said Tim Petz, Logan's dad.
Petz said when Logan was three-and-a-half he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a gradual weakening of the muscles with no cure.
"It was tragic and terrifying for us because they only give 20-25 years of life expectancy with Duchenne, and half of that is in a wheelchair," Petz said. "They lose the ability to walk around 10 to 13-years-old, and he's right at that point."
For years, when not fighting fires, Petz has joined his fellow men and women in uniform helping Palm Beach County Fire Rescue raise money each year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which supports local families.
Now, Petz's family is in need. Since his son's diagnosis, the firefighter has also run marathons, held events, and even launched the nonprofit Firefighters On A Mission to raise awareness.
"To try to do all this and have four kids, it's difficult, but we make it happen and wish we could do more," Petz said.
On Labor Day you usually see firefighters out in the community for their annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Fill The Boot Drive, but it's been canceled the past three years because of hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising has taken a hit, so to shine the spotlight on MDA, PBCFR has gotten creative to help raise more awareness.
"He's not fighting through this alone, we're all there for him," said PBCFR Lt. Jen Kleier, who is also the Boot Drive coordinator.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has launched the social media campaign, #Logan Strong, and more than 50 crews around the county have already stepped up by taking a picture while making an "L" for Logan and flexing their muscles. The movement has even gotten the attention of FDNY - Brooklyn's Rescue 2.
"We're one big family so when one of us is down and out we got a family full of firefighters to pick you right back up," Kleier said.
Petz, Logan, and his family have also joined in, and they're feeling the support of the community during a difficult time.
"I'm just amazed at how there's so much there for us all the time and whatever we need they're there to help us out. It's really amazing," Petz said.
The Palm Beach County Firefighter's Union is hoping to hold its annual Fill The Boot Drive next year. If you would like to donate before that, click here.