Members of the Williams Lake Fire Department will be braving the weather as they campout for the next 24 hours on the rooftop of Canadian Tire in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Assistant fire chief Trevor Schick who was the prior chairperson for muscular dystrophy before firefighter Jason Sim stepped up and took on the role told the crowd at an opening ceremony Saturday before noon that fundraising for muscular dystrophy has been important to him since the joining the fire department 15 years ago.
“Firstly today I would like to thank firefighter Braden Fournier,” Schick said.”Because of his tireless support and dedication to organizing today’s event Muscular Dystrophy Canada will continue to have the impacts that it does.”
The partnership between firefighters and Muscular Dystrophy Canada as well as the ongoing support from BC and Yukon communities such as Williams Lake has allowed Muscular Dystrophy Canada to improve the quality of life for thousands of Canadians impacted by neuromuscular disorders by providing financial assistance, emotional support, advocacy, and education.
“This past September marked the 65th year of partnership between Muscular Dystrophy Canada and firefighters. During the 65 years firefighters have been the largest fundraisers of all of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s partners,” Schick said. “From shaking the boot to today’s rooftop campout the community of Williams Lake has helped their fire department be part of research for a cure and aid clients with the support that they require. Since we got heavily involved in around 1990 the community of Williams Lake has raised over $300,000 towards Muscular Dystrophy Canada.”
Calling the location of the rooftop campout perfect, Schick thanked Canadian Tire owner Brad O’Neill.
“The businesses of our great city have contributed both financially and through donations of support. They are inspiring through their thoughtfulness and giving spirit,” Schick added. “We’d also like to extend a huge thank you to the people of the community. You all generously support our endeavor annually to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada through our annual boot drive and today during the campout. The donations by our local citizens extend $10,000 every year and are gladly given to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada.”
Fire chief Erick Peterson said the community always amazes him with their generosity.
“I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t acknowledge the many generous donations from business owners and public for making this event successful, but as fire chief I want to thank them,” Peterson said. “I am so incredibly proud of the men and women of the WLFD everyday but on days like today I am particularly proud. I am particularly proud because you are volunteers; you are a group of volunteers that work in our community and just make it better.”
Mayor of Williams Lake Walt Cobb thanked firefighters for going the extra mile and helping raise funds and awareness of muscular dystrophy.
“We really, really appreciate it,” Cobb said. “Work well done.”
Joined by his service dog Jasper, Dave Maitland thanked fire departments both locally and nationally that participate in supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
“Quite a few years ago at the age of 30 I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and it’s progressive,” Maitland said. “It involves the muscles and muscle strength and the deterioration of muscles, and so at that time I was getting around quite well and in my career with the BC Forest Service but overtime the muscles start weakening more and more and you need help. One of the first things that I did was register with Muscular Dystrophy Canada for mental and equipment support and to be in line for possible successes with research.”
“To have the support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada and of course communities like Williams Lake and the Cariboo is just fantastic,” he added. “I’m proud to say that and honored also that so many of the Williams Lake firefighters are not just here protecting us as first responders but many are friends and neighbors so I really appreciate that too.”
Helping support the WLFD with the rooftop campout and annual boot drive campaign is the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department.
“You do everything in your power to not just take care of everybody when you’re on service or on call but away from it,” said Cariboo Prince George MP Todd Doherty. “You know that a healthy community is a safe community and for that I’m humbled and I’m honored to here with you and you all deserve a huge round of applause for that as well.”