Community

Penticton firefighters hit the roof for charity

Participating Penticton firefighters (top to bottom) Ryan Bazley, Brent Ryll and Graham Gowe prepare for a cool night on  top of the Canada Safeway store during the recent rooftop campout fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. Volunteers from the union local raised over $16,000 over the two days. - Mark Brett/Western News
Participating Penticton firefighters (top to bottom) Ryan Bazley, Brent Ryll and Graham Gowe prepare for a cool night on top of the Canada Safeway store during the recent rooftop campout fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. Volunteers from the union local raised over $16,000 over the two days.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Through the roof is how organizers are describing the success of the recent inaugural rooftop campout fundraiser by Penticton firefighters.

Heading into the two days of living on the edge of the Main Street Canada Safeway building, Ryan Bazley was hoping for $7,000, but when the smoke cleared it was more than twice that.

“The final amount turned out to be just over $16,000 and this is our biggest event for raising money that we’ve ever had,” said Bazley, who admitted the cool temperatures and wind kept him awake for much of the first night. “But the community really rallied around us and that generosity by residents and businesses was incredible; it really showed Penticton’s heart and I’m very grateful for what they helped us do. This is a really great cause.”

Proceeds will go to the favourite charity of the professional firefighters, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, to improve the quality of life for people living with neuromuscular disorders through equipment purchases and support services, as well as research.

Among the corporate donations, the one that stood out was the efforts of the Scotiabank crew.

During the 48 hours, their on-site hotdog stand sold about $2,500 in dogs and drinks which was matched by corporate head office, representing nearly a third of the overall amount raised.

According to Bazley, in addition to the firefighters who slept out overnight, other members of the local donated their time to help with the necessary tasks.

“It’s (union) something I’m very proud to be a part of,” he said. “We’re a brotherhood and we stick together and everyone is really proud of the money we raised.”

Something he felt that especially lifted the spirits of participants and contributors alike were kids like Nathaniel Morgan, who has a form of muscular dystrophy but came out in his wheelchair to lend moral support to the cause.

“Absolutely, that meant a lot,” said the organizer. “Sure, you can raise money for a cause that you don’t know about, but when you put a face to it, it really helps out.”

Penticton Fire Chief Wayne Williams gave his firefighters credit for braving the elements, adding he was very proud of what they accomplished.

As far as another campout next year at this time, Bazley noted there are no definite plans, however, he is looking forward to the local’s fundraising barbecue this summer at the Peach City Beach Cruise.

While that event may not raise as much money, he expects the weather, at least, will be a warmer.

 

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