May 8, 2012, Toronto - The inaugural Ladders Up for the Foundation fundraiser exceeded expectations of organizers, participants and the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, raising $26,550 and ensuring a repeat performance and a bigger and better event next year.
The idea for Ladders Up started in Indianapolis in 2011. Mark Prendergast, president of M&L Supply, successfully bid on a commemorative 9-11 helmet, which instantly became the talk of Canadians at the conference. That night, at an event called Stop, Drop, Rock & Roll, a fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in the United States, Mark thought about doing a similar event in Canada?
A committee was formed that included Barry Malmsten and Mercedes Foulon with the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), FFIC sales manager Catherine Connolly, David Sheen with Toronto Fire Services and Ontario chairman for the CFFF, Kip Cosgrove with VFIS, and, of course, Mark. The group worked tirelessly for months to bring the event to fruition.
“The committee thought, f we can raise $10,000 – wow,” Mark said. “But to raise over $26,000; it’s just . . . I’m still smiling.”
|Ladders Up for the Foundation organizers and volunteers took a few minutes during Saturday night's fundraiser for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation to enjoy the fact that the online auction and the weekend event raised $26,500. The inaugural event, as part of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conference in Toronto, drew 250 fire chiefs, training officers, firefighters, suppliers and manufactures. Photo by Alan Hooper.|
The first part of the event featured an online auction in which fire departments bid on donated items such as thermal imagers, bunker gear, hose kits and training packages. The silent auction raised $23,000 – and bidders snagged some new equipment and training at great prices.
Mark said manufacturers and suppliers donated some $55,000 worth of products for the online auction, and many more have already expressed interest in the next event.
“Suppliers already want to be involved next year with bigger donations,” he said.
The gala event on Saturday was also a huge success. Raffle tickets sold out, boosting the total amount raised to $26,550. The 250 participants enjoyed live music courtesy of Better Under Fire, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and great company.
A portion of the proceeds raised will go toward the final the payments for the CFFF memorial in Ottawa, which is expected to be completed in the next 45 days – in time for the annual memorial service in September. Remaining proceeds will go into a trust intended to pay for post-secondary education of the children of Canada’s fallen firefighters.
“The CFFF asked us if it’s a go next year,” Mark added. “And I said yes!”
Click here to donate to this worthy cause, and be sure to attend next year’s event!
May 8, 2012 By Olivia D'Orazio
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