From the Burnaby Now newspaper,
Editorial by Brian Pound, resident of Burnaby.
November, 2013 - Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan often refers to them as those people who rush in while others are rushing out.
His reference, of course, is to those men and women who wear the uniforms of Burnaby firefighters.
And while we are aware of what these incredible individuals do to protect you and me on a daily basis, you might not be aware of the phenomenal services they also perform daily to enhance the lives of the people who live and work in our city.
Consider: In this year alone, the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society will have raised and donated close to $200,000 to Burnaby charities, which total more than 50 in all. The charitable society represents Burnaby firefighters in their mission to raise money for community groups and non-profit organizations, firefighters donating their own time to become involved in community events.
Eight years ago, the charitable society initiated a nutritional snack program at two of Burnaby’s elementary schools. These schools had been identified as having a high proportion of low-income families, and nutrition had been a major concern.
Today, that marvellous program has spread to 23 schools and three community centres throughout the district. And it’s working, as teachers report great results from the program: children are more focused and learning in the classroom has improved.
Even Hockey Canada is impressed. During the recent national midget women’s hockey championship at Copeland Arena, a schools program was put in place where students from various Burnaby schools, 6,000 in total, attended games throughout the week. There to greet them at the entrance, handing out nutritional snacks and juices, were off-duty Burnaby firefighters.
Hockey Canada had never seen a program like it at any event they organize.
The Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society, made up of 281 Burnaby firefighters, put it all together by being out in the community at all times of the year, hosting a pancake breakfast at the library’s summer reading program (they’ve been doing it for 10 years), selling hotdogs and juices at the annual Edmonds Fair and other such events, sponsoring the second annual Burnaby Christmas Angel toy run at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown (this year, Dec. 5), assisting seniors, fire prevention awareness, and so much more.
In these two final months of the year alone, Burnaby firefighters will host 31 events, including 14 pancake breakfast sessions at Burnaby elementary schools and participating in pictures with Santa at Lougheed Town Centre.
Twenty times a year the firefighters, through auctions, provide hotdogs for birthday parties and attend with their 1954 LaFrance fire truck, providing rides for attendees.
The Burnaby Firefighters Union 323 was also the first department to provide a $100,000 donation to sponsor a room at the soon-to-be open Burn Fund building in Vancouver and over the past three years have donated more than $200,000 to Burnaby and Royal Columbian hospitals.
And it’s not all about fundraising, either. Seven members of the Burnaby department went to High River, Alta., to help with the devastating floods that tore that city apart.
Two of the key fundraisers put on by the charitable society are the annual golf tournament at Riverway and the firefighters’ annual ball at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown.
In addition to fundraising, members are also active teaching thousands of students and community members how to perform CPR.
If you think I’m a fan, you’d better believe it.
So, next time you come across a Burnaby firefighter, take a moment out and say thanks for everything you do for our city.