Courage and Determination
By Our Side
All too often, when help is needed, residents turn to their local, trusted Fire Fighters—and they always come through. Perhaps that’s why, more than 60 years ago, a Massachusetts’ father of two children affected by muscular dystrophy, asked his local Fire Fighters for assistance.
Back then, George Graney of Fire Engine Company 1 in South Boston rounded up 20 Fire Fighters for a door-to-door campaign that yielded $5,000 for the Crowley family. Owing to his imagination and vision, Graney realized the Fire Fighters could do so much more. He approached the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) with an idea. Today, Fire Fighters raise funds and public awareness about muscular dystrophy on an international level.
Here in Canada, Arthur Minden, co-founder of the newly formed, Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, noted the high public regard for Fire Fighters. Minden reached out to volunteer and career Fire Fighters for assistance. Their dedication to fundraising and enhancing public awareness of neuromuscular disorders continues to be our community’s single-most important source of revenue. Over the years, Fire Fighters have raised $76 million for research, services and advocacy for people living with muscular dystrophy.
Initially, these courageous men and women start fundraising for muscular dystrophy because it’s a tradition. Over time, they realize they’ve become involved in so much more than a charity of choice. They look beyond the neuromuscular disorders and the wheelchairs—and get to know the individuals, the families and our community. Long-term Board member, Kelly Zacharias, refers to his own volunteer contribution to our community as “my food for the soul.” The Smithers, B.C. Fire Rescue, Deputy Fire Chief adds, ”As you become more involved, you look at the person, not the disability or the chair.”
Each year, Fire Fighters (and their families and friends) from 800 Fire Departments and Associations across Canada, connect to brainstorm community event ideas. They look forward to offering hope and inspiration, sparking public interest and prompting people to give generously to the cause. And each year, since 1954, the Fire Fighters have come
through for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
This article is a part of the 2013-2014 Annual Report. To read more, please click here.