Firefighters from across the region teamed up to cap-off 2018’s big charitable events.
Waiting for Santa to arrive for the finale of Miracle on Broad Street Dec.14, firefighters from Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay and Saanich reflected on why they give.
“I just think if you have the time to give back you should,” said Esquimalt firefighter Kahill Homes.
“As firefighters I think we’re very fortunate in our communities for the jobs that we have, and the communities that we live in,” added Victoria Fire’s Ajay Leblanc. “We’re exposed every day to some of the people who are less fortunate, and so why wouldn’t step up and give back our time and try to fundraise some funds to help brighten somebody else’s day?”
Brian Swanson, director of Saanich Fire’s Charitable Foundation says most of the philanthropic work done by Victoria firefighters is targeted at children and youth within each community. However, the annual Santas Anonymous fundraiser adds a more personal touch.
“This one we get to put a face on when we’re doing deliveries, put a face to the gifts and the time and the effort we put in on our own time,” Swanson said.
“We do things throughout the year,” agreed Jason Hodge, executive director of the Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. “Especially at Christmas time, it comes down to some people are less fortunate. If you’ve got any extra money, why not donate it to a great cause?”
Santa left the deer at home choosing to arrive for the Miracle on Broad Street in a firetruck. After a quick photo op, the four firefighters made their way inside to work the phone lines. Firefighters have always been a part of Santas Anonymous in Victoria, and this year donated $15,000 during the Miracle on Broad Street event. Although for Leblanc – also vice-president of Santas Anonymous – this particular philanthropic endeavour began before he joined the department.
“Santas Anonymous has been something my family’s done since I was a kid,” Leblanc said. “It’s amazing to get those hugs and see the tears of joy in the parents’ eyes, knowing that they can provide Christmas to their kid.”