LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The corner of Ridge Road and South Park Avenue in Lackawanna was filled with EMS vehicles Friday afternoon. Not for an emergency, but for the third annual Lackawanna Fire Department ‘Fill the Boot’ fund drive for Western New York Make-A-Wish.

“The money stays locally, so it’s nice to see where that money goes and getting to see the kids that the wishes are granted for. Hearing their stories is a really nice thing,” said Lackawanna firefighter Michael Catuzza.

The goal every year is to not only grant a wish but to also grow the event. To make that happen Lackawanna Fire partnered with Buffalo Fire for the first time.

“We brought some of our members down to partner up with our brothers and sisters in Lackawanna to help increase their boot drive. We’ll make a donation, hopefully raise a lot of money and make some wishes come true,” added Vincent Ventresca, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 282 Union.

Firefighters from both departments were out in the early morning and late afternoon for two collection shifts. With the total after just three hours, reaching well over $5,200.

“Every year that I’ve been here, we’ve raised at least $10,000, usually between ten and 12,000, which is enough to get a kid a wish. So, we’re hoping to do the same this year,” added Lackawanna firefighter Danielle Rosenhan.

Over the past nearly three decades, thousands of children battling critical illnesses have had their wishes granted thanks to Make-A-Wish and the ‘Fill the Boot’ event is just a part of that.

Next week, News 4 is teaming up with Make-A-Wish and 97 Rock for this year’s Make-A-Wish 28-hour radiothon. It starts at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 and runs until 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29.