March 28, 2011
Above and beyond the call of duty
Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost -PNG, The Province
Surrey firefighters have pledged $150,000 that will help support Surrey’s new Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre set to open in June.
It has become second nature for Surrey’s firefighters -often the first responders in emergency situations -to help improve the lives of the citizens they serve.
The level of commitment shown by the city’s 390 firefighters goes far beyond the call of duty.
“Our firefighters in the last 10 years have donated over a million dollars to our charities right out of their payroll deductions, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” said Surrey Fire Fighters Association president Chris Keon.
Continuing their tradition of giving back to the people, the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society has come forward with a $150,000 pledge for the 100 Days to Give campaign benefiting the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation. Donations will directly support the new Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre to open in June.
“No other charitable group -excluding those that are directly affiliated with the hospital -has given as much to us over the years as the Surrey firefighters,” said Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation president and CEO Jane Adams. “It’s in their nature to give to the community, and they deserve all the respect they get.”
Keon says the charitable society is involved in many different community programs and fundraising initiatives, including the annual Mayor’s Gala Ball, running a thrift store and providing nutritious snack programs to kids in schools.
He says the firefighters themselves run the society, so there’s absolutely no overhead, with 100 per cent of donated dollars going back to the community in some way.
One of the mandates of the society, he says, is that any money raised in Surrey stays in Surrey.
Adams tells The Province the firefighters were among the first groups to get on board this campaign and were also major donors in the hospital foundation’s last two campaigns.
Recently, they donated $500,000 to the Emergency Centre Campaign to address mental-health and addictions. In recognition, one of the areas of the new ER to open at Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2013 will be named the Surrey Fire Fighters Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Response Unit.
“Our mandate is very simple. Our goals and objectives are simple,” says Keon. “They’re just to provide relief from poverty and to assist members of the community that have been affected by traumatic wounds and events. We raise money for medical and health-care research and to provide bursaries for community service. We sponsor programs that promote kids staying in school and we try to deliver programs that offer positive life experiences and enhance kids’ self-esteem.
“All of those put together, I think, make a stronger community.”