Penticton firefighters giving back in the line of duty

Penticton Firefighters go to the extra effort outside their regular “business hours” to make those smiles happen.

Penticton firefighter Curtis Gibbons and daughter and two-year-old daughter Lily with Registered Nurse Shawna Sawyer of Penticton Regional Hospital with a tablet and special rocking chair which were part of the donations to the hospital's pediatric ward by the firefighter's union local over Christmas.

Too often firefighters, like other emergency responders, just see the bad things that happen to people, so being able to put smiles on faces is a welcome change.

Whether it’s as simple as building a firetruck bookshelf for the library or financially assisting a family with a loved one battling cancer, department staff are quick to step up to the plate.

According to secretary Curtis Gibbons of Penticton Firefighters Local 1399, that’s the reason he and other department members go to the extra effort outside their regular “business hours” to make those smiles happen.

“We work hard to support our community as best we can on shift and off shift,” said Gibbons, who has been a firefighter in Penticton for the past six years. “It’s absolutely more than a job, people say it’s (being a firefighter) a calling and we’re all part of it because we want to be able to give back to the community however we can.

“We’re absolutely proud and honoured to help our community by raising that money and then by donating it back. Firefighters are known traditionally for giving back to their communities so we’re keeping that tradition alive.”

He added one of this year’s most heartwarming donations members were able to make was to the Kozari-Bowland family whose teenaged daughter Kaylee was suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Kaylee died in April but Gibbons said once again, just to be able to help in some small way is why the members do what they do.

This week firefighters made their final gift of the year to the paediatric ward of Penticton Regional Hospital from the cash they previously raised.

That included electronic tablets and special furniture the hospital had identified on its wish list.

Other beneficiaries of the department’s generosity include a larger number of local organizations and individuals as well as provincial and national groups such as Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund.

The more than $30,000 raised in the past 12 months came from a variety of events, and started off like it does every year with the annual Christmas tree collection.

For a donation firefighters using their personal vehicles pick up trees for disposal or they can be dropped off at the Dawson Avenue hall. Making lunch for the Shriner’s service club and the pancake breakfast at the Peach City Beach Cruise are two other popular events. The long-running Boot Drive and more recently the rooftop camping exercise on top of Safeway are geared specifically to raising money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Other causes helped by firefighters include the Penticton Safety Village, Miss Penticton and the Peach City Tees Up for Cancer ladies charity golf tournament.

Gibbons gratefully acknowledged the wide support of local businesses including Scotia Bank, Lakeside Resort and media outlets.

“And yes, we’ll gladly jump on anything where we can make  a bit of money and then give it back just to be able to see those smiles,” he said. “Wherever we can help.”

 

Just Posted

Penticton athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Penticton Vees look to playoffs after Feb. 16 win against Langley

The team needs to win two of their last three games to claim the division title

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

Here’s your first look at Penticton’s proposed budget for 2019

The city is recommending a 3.6 per cent tax increase, additional increase to business tax multiplier

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read