There appears to be something about a firefighters dressed in turnout gear, holding their boot, and asking for money that gets Langleyites to dig deep.
During the annual Township of Langley firefighter appreciation dinner last week, the local firefighters presented Muscular Dystrophy Canada with a cheque for $45,500.
With boot in hand, between close to 70 members of the Township of Langley Firefighters Charities spent three days last fall collecting donations for the cause.
“We are big believers in the work that MD Canada does and we are very honoured to be able to work along side them and provide help to those who need it,” said TLFCS’s Nick Short.
The relationship between firefighters and MD Canada goes back several decades, explained drive coordinator Cpt. Peter Taylor – noting the Township has been collecting since 1994.
“This is engrained. This is who we are,” added Taylor, who has been part of the drive since joining the Township fire department 15 years ago. He took over as coordinator seven years ago.
This wasn’t the biggest amount ever raised by the full-time and paid-on-call members, he noted. In 2015 and 2016, the team raised a little more than $50,000 each year.
“We came up a little short,” Taylor said. “But that’s okay. It’s about the guys coming together … working together, and if we can raise money and awareness for MD Canada, it’s all good.”
This year’s MD boot drive is set for Sept. 14 to 16.
“Of course, we can’t do any of this without the support from the generous people in the Township of Langley,” Taylor added.
The only other time Township firefighters conduct a boot drive is at Christmas, Taylor explained.
Several Langley firehalls host Candy Cane Runs, driving through various neighbourhoods handing out candy canes to kids. Through the years, however, the giving back event morphed into a bit of a food and fundraising event, Taylor said.
Now, they collect non-perishable food as well as cash for the food banks in Langley.
The Township of Langley Firefighter’s Charities also hosts a number of other fundraiser and partners with a number of other groups in the community to help raise money for their causes – among them the Langley School District Foundation, LAPS, and the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“This community is always willing to share what they have with their neighbours and those in need,” Short said.