Posts Tagged ‘Fire Fighter’


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Stay Safe! Wildfire Preparedness

14852815074_fd07458075_oTWThis article is being written as Fire Fighters from coast-to-coast reflect on the outstanding efforts put forth by their colleagues in Fort McMurray. We salute all of the first responders, many of whom who put the good of the community ahead of their personal considerations, as they dealt with the devastation of the wildfire that swept through the Fort McMurray area in early May.

Over the past couple of articles we have offered thoughts and suggestions as to how someone with a neuro-muscular disorder might prepare for the occurrence of an emergency which impacts you personally. Of particular importance were the preparations we recommended you put in place, in the event you are displaced from your home. A wildfire would certainly be such an event.


A Family Connection

md2[1]For one Muscular Dystrophy Canada family, the connection to the organization goes back almost 60 years. Ken Killen was a career Fire Fighter with the Kingston Fire Department, and began volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada in the late 1950s, a connection that carries on today through his daughter Debra Chiabai, and grandchildren Alex and Kate.

“My father was a career Fire Fighter in Kingston. He often had part time jobs in his off hours (bus driver, photographer, taxi driver) since in the early years it was not a particularly well paid job. Even though he was very busy with his full and part time work, he always made time to volunteer. The Fire Fighter charity of choice, then as now, was the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada,” remembers Debra. “I know he had a leadership role which I think would now be called Fire Fighter Advisor, but I’m not sure if that was just for his department or if it was more regional. He was responsible for a number of years for running the Kingston Telethon Centre and he also made frequent trips to the televised location in Watertown, New York to speak on behalf of Fire Fighters, co-host and to receive and deliver cheques. He would also take co-lead/coordinate the local canister drive and other events like McHappy Day. He also dressed up as a clown for fundraising events and to participate in the annual Kingston Santa Claus parade.”


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Working Together Towards a Common Goal

The weekend of the Annual General Meeting also hosts a dinner where the recipients of the Dr. David Green Awards are given their awards and a chance to address the audience. These national awards, which recognize the efforts of several extraordinary volunteers, clients, Fire Fighters, corporate supporters, and researchers, are handed out annually.  I had the honour of attending the banquet in Toronto of September 2011, and was blown away by the dedication and passion shown by all in attendance.  All the winners had heartfelt words to share, but one speech really stood out.

The McGonigal family including Angela and her son Owen, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, won both the National and Ontario “Courage to Inspire” awards.  Owen summed up his feelings with a succinct “thank you,” while Angela said thanks by sharing a poignant story with the group.  Angela explained that while her family took a rest before the Awards dinner they discussed what they should say as they accepted their award.  Angela received a text message right at that moment from Fire Fighter friends letting the family know the regional Boot Drive campaign was going well.  Angela told the audience that was just how being part of Muscular Dystrophy Canada was, even when you need to take a rest yourself, you know there are friends who are still working for the cause.

It’s a terrific way of recognizing the many pieces of the puzzle that come together in one unrelenting effort to reach Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s vision “to find a cure for neuromuscular disorders in our lifetime.”

Fire Fighter discusses Rooftop Campouts on CTV Edmonton

Amongst the various and numerous ways Fire Fighters support Muscular Dystrophy Canada the Rooftop Campouts are rapidly becoming a popular winter fundraising event.  Seven years ago Rooftop Campouts were introduced in Alberta as another way for Fire Fighters, who have partnered with us since 1954, to challenge their communities to raise awareness and funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.  Rooftop Campouts have since expanded to various cities throughout Canada.  Fire Fighter participants from these areas will endure below freezing temperatures, inclement weather, and whatever else nature throws their way during multi-day Rooftop Campouts.

From February 21st to 24th, five Fire Fighter groups in Alberta will campout.  These events will be held in Edmonton, Strathcona, Leduc, St. Albert and Spruce Grove.  Paul McGonigal, a long-time supporter and inaugural Rooftop Campout planner from Edmonton appeared on CTV Morning Live on CTV Edmonton to speak about the Rooftop Campouts.  Paul was joined by Chase, a young boy with muscular dystrophy.  Watch the video:

Fire Fighter Paul McGonigal on CTV Edmonton

Rooftop Campouts will also be held in Prince George, BC (March 10-11); Winnipeg, MB (March 13-16); London, ON (March 15-18); Medicine Hat, AB (March 16-17); Fort McMurray, AB (March 28-31); Brandon, MB and Saskatoon, SK.  You can support these Fire Fighters by joining the Rooftop Campout Facebook page or by visiting and donating during the event!

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