Rick Mills: An Example In Dedication
My involvement with Muscular Dystrophy Canada began way back when I was still in high school – that’s when my youngest brother was first diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It was during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, but I still remember how hard it was to watch my brother go from a normal child to one who required a lot of assistance. It was made even more difficult by fact that, in those days, the treatment was totally different than it is now. He went from walking, to braces, to a wheelchair. My brother passed away at the age of 17. That just wasn’t right.
I joined the Fire Service in Richmond Hill, Ontario in 1984 as a volunteer Fire Fighter, where I helped out with some fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. I became a career Fire Fighter in 1988. That first year, I was told by my captain to go to the local mall for three days and collect money in a boot for MDC. I enjoyed the experience, and talking to all the people, and started to realize that this was a great way to collect money. That first time alone, I raised $3000 – and I have never looked back since!
I made my first cheque presentation during the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon in 1990. The following year, I was asked to become a Fire Fighter Advisor. I accepted, and was then made Campaign Chair for the Fire Fighters in both 1992 and 1993. My photo appeared on campaign posters along with some famous celebrities like Doug Gilmour from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mike Timlin from the Toronto Blue Jays (who was part of the World Series winning team of 1993). For the next couple of years, I actually hosted the telethon, until it was taken off the air in Canada. During that time, I really enjoyed the experience of meeting other Fire Fighters from various departments around Ontario when they presented their cheques on the telethon.
From there, I was appointed Chair of the Ontario Fire Fighter Advisors, a position I held for six years. This gave me the opportunity to travel to Fire Fighter Advisor conferences across the country, in cities including Quebec, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Richmond, B.C. I became a member of the National Fire Fighter Relations Committee and then Chair of the Committee. This led me to join the Board of Directors, where I became a Vice-Chair, then Chair of the Board – a position I had always hoped to aspire to because of the great work the board does, and the people it works for.
The Fire Fighters do a tremendous job – I am honoured to be part of such a great team of fundraisers. It’s important to note that I am only one piece of the team; there are so many Fire Fighters who deserve to be recognized – from the small volunteer departments to the big career departments. Big or small, we all do this because we care.
I’ve enjoyed being involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Canada team for many years, and will continue to donate and fundraise because it’s an important part of who I am. I’ve met so many wonderful clients and families over the years, and it’s always great to see their smiles when they finally get to put a face to the team.
Rick Mills is a Captain in the Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services. Rick’s career as a Fire Fighter began 30 years ago. He is a proud father of two children, and a loving grandfather to his one granddaughter. Rick served as a member of the Board of Directors for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, as well as a Fire Fighter Advisor.