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Nelson firefighters win Department of the Year

Firefighters Bob Patton and Mark Ouellette spent 56 hours on top of the Safeway last December raising funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The Nelson department is now being honoured for its contributions to the organization. - Andrea Klassen
Firefighters Bob Patton and Mark Ouellette spent 56 hours on top of the Safeway last December raising funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The Nelson department is now being honoured for its contributions to the organization.
— image credit: Andrea Klassen

They've extended the boot, braved the elements in December, and built ramps. Now the Nelson Fire Service is being rewarded for its efforts for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

The department won the 2010-11 Bill Grindlay Department of the Year Award. The provincial award is given to a B.C. or Yukon department that shows outstanding achievement in raising funds and public awareness.

"It is quite an honour to be singled out within the whole province, because there's numerous departments all over the province that do a lot of stuff," says fire fighter Bob Patton, also the West Kootenay advisor for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. "It's a huge honour for us."

The award comes after a very successful fundraising year, with local firefighters raising more than $13,000 for muscular dystrophy. A December camp out that saw Patton and fellow firefighter Martin Ouellette spend 56 hours on the roof of Safeway netted more than $11,000 of the total.

But Patton says the award is about more than fundraising totals or a single year's work.

"This is generally given out to departments that are involved over the years. You don't just do an event one year and get awarded with something like this. It takes numerous years of just doing what we do," he explains.

In addition to fundraising, the department has also provided assistance to Nelsonites with neuromuscular disorders, who also attend many of the fire service's public events.

Fire fighters across the country have raised funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada since the 1950s, when a group of parents with children affected by the condition approached a group of Ontario firefighters for help.

The award will be presented to the department at a the Muscle Sense Conference held in Vancouver this November.

 

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