Rockland firefighters awarded Department of the Year by MD Canada

by Joseph Coppolino - EAP
Rockland firefighters awarded Department of the Year by MD Canada
The Clarence-Rockland Fire Department (CRFD) was recognized by Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) for its fundraising efforts to support muscular dystrophy research and awareness. MDC awarded the CRFD with its Fire Department of the Year award in August. (Photo : Gregg Chamberlain)

Clarence-Rockland’s firefighters were recognized by Muscular Dystrophy Canada as Fire Department of the Year for their commitment to advocacy and fundraising.

The award goes to a department that has “demonstrated overall excellence throughout the past year in the areas of advocacy, services, fund development and volunteer engagement”, according to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Clarence-Rockland Fire Department and firefighters have supported Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1971, have raised more than $450,000. In 2022, they raised $35,000 with their Fill the Boot campaign, pancake breakfast and other fundraising efforts, ranking them among the top three departments in Ontario and top 10 in Canada.

“Muscular Dystrophy Canada is fortunate to have such a positive and longstanding relationship with the department,” stated the organization. “We greatly appreciated the work the Department is putting in to ensure the partnership continues with the next generation of fire fighters.”

Captain Alain Gourgon, firefighter for more than 20 years at Rockland’s Station 3, said he and the other firefighters aren’t doing it for the awards but for the community they serve.

“The guys are pretty excited,” he said. “We like to give back and we figure this is a good cause.”

Gourgon added that the money comes from the community, and having raised $35,000 in 2022, that’s more than $1 per resident of Clarence-Rockland.

“Any other municipality, even Ottawa or somewhere like that, they’re not getting anywhere near that.”

Last year was a particularly good year, said Gourgon. Coming out of the pandemic people were willing to give and had some extra cash they weren’t able to spend during lockdowns.

This year, however, is a different story. With higher interest rates and tight budgets, donations have been slower. Regardless, the CRFD’s boot drive still raised more than $27,000 alone.

Gourgon will be accepting the MD award on November 4 over zoom as the event is being held in Calgary.

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