March 3, 2016 - The team behind a fundraiser born five years ago to raise money for the families of fallen firefighters is hoping for a stellar turnout for its fifth anniversary.
M&L Supply's Mark Prendergast is the founding organizer of Ladders Up for the Foundation, and said he hopes to beat last year's total of more than $27,000.
Prendergast organized the first Ladders Up in 2012, and modelled it after the popular Stop, Drop, Rock & Roll fundraiser held annually at FDIC in Indianapolis for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in the United States.
The Canadian event is held every spring during the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conference in Toronto, and features live music and food. An online auction of donated items opens March 1 to raise extra funds for the foundation. Every dollar raised – more than $100,000 over the past four years – goes towards the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF) education fund for the families of fallen firefighters.
Prendergast said he keeps motivated to organize the event by hearing from recipients of the CFFF scholarships.
"I forget how many people I know on that wall," Prendergast said, referring to the fallen firefighter memorial wall in Ottawa. "We're doing it for them, for their children, for their grandchildren and their spouses."
The Ladders Up committee members, Prendergast said, deserve the credit for making the fundraiser happen, including Michelle O'Hara from the OAFC, Kip Cosgrove from VFIS of Canada, Manfred Kihn from Bullard, Karen Jones from M&L Supply, David Sheen from Ajax Fire and Emergency Services and Catherine Connolly from Annex Business Media.
This year's Ladders Up is on April 30 at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport from 7-11 p.m. Learn more at www.firefightingincanada.com/laddersup, on Facebook.com/LaddersUpCanada, and follow on Twitter @LaddersUpCanada