MDA Volunteers Paying Back Kindness

This weekend, the MDA Telethon was on the air thanks to hundreds of volunteers like Margaret and Thad Hall.

"We were just glad to have the opportunity to come up here," Margaret says.

As hundreds of thousands of dollars poured in locally, volunteers manned the phones, taking pledges and tallying the money. The Halls came all the way from Omaha, near Mt. Pleasant, to lend a hand and give their weekend for a special reason.

"We want to be able to contribute and help out," Thad says. "MDA has helped our family out."

This telethon means something special to the Halls. They came to repay the kindness MDA has showed them and their six year-old son, Frank. Frank was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy two years ago. Since then, MDA has helped them cope, and donated a wheelchair for his use.

The Halls made the trip to Tyler for Frank, and others like him.

"It was pretty emotional for us," Margaret says, "because it was personal to us. But we were really excited to do something for our son as well as the other children in the area."

"I'm not only helping my son," Thad explains, "I'm helping other children with this disease."

So while the emcees asked for pledges and donations, the Halls answered those phones, knowing full well what each call meant.

"I think it's personal to them," Margaret says of her pledgers. "I think it's emotional to them. It doesn't matter the amount, they're calling because they want to help."

As they took calls and jotted down donations, they knew every flip of a donation card and turn of a toteboard meant they were getting one step closer.

"MDA provides a future for our son," Thad says. "A cure will be found, and it's because of the contributions of the people that are calling in on these phones."

Reid Kerr ( reporting.