Prince Albert is known for its volunteerism and it would be hard to argue that, per capita, there is anywhere else that has more people willing to lend a hand when that hand is needed.
There are countless service clubs, who in their own way, raise funds to support a cause that they believe in. There are groups of people that help out at the hospital, in schools and at numerous events whether it is sporting, cultural or artistic.
One that goes about its own way with very little fanfare is the Prince Albert Firefighters Charity.
Many people think that the firefighters of this city just go to work and wait for a call, but they do so much more.
In addition to being out in the public providing education to various dangers that could occur, this group raises money -- lots of money.
For more than 30 years they have worked bingos, held car washes, staged Oldtimer’s Hockey Challenges that brings in former NHL players for the public to enjoy, sold Fire Flames calendars and even had Boot Drives.
What do they do with this money?
Well, they have been major contributors to many ongoing social services and programs, they have supported hundreds of local, provincial and national charities and they have come to the aid of many local individuals, clubs and sporting events that are in need.
Why am I giving them a plug?
That’s simple! Without any solicitation they approached me and asked if they could help a good friend of mine with some travel expenses while she travelled to Saskatoon for 40 doses of radiation treatment.
My friend wasn’t worried about the added expense or the inconvenience of having to be on the highway every day to get this treatment, but I’m sure the bills were starting to add up.
My response to the charity was that my friends did not want to make a big deal out of their ordeal and they countered with a simple “We don’t either.”
They do this on a regular basis and never is it a big media conference announcing their assistance to so-and-so. They do it because that is what they believe in -- helping those out in need.
Initially, I was quite floored when asked if they could help out and once I talked to my friends I was quite surprised how much they appreciated the assistance and support. True to their word, no public acknowledgement was done, until now I guess, and both parties were happy.
I am not mentioning specific names here for a reason because that would take away from the whole wonderful experience. Anonymity was what was asked for and that was what was delivered yet my friends benefited from their generosity and the firefighters accomplished what they had set out to do -- they gave back to the community.
I have to admit this group has never crossed my mind before and maybe that is because they do so much under the radar that unless you experience their good work you would never know it is out there.
Now that I have seen firsthand what they do I will promote their ventures whenever I can. I likely won’t buy a Fire Flames calendar for myself (sorry fellas), but I certainly will let people know they are out there.
What a wonderful experience! Keep up the good work and thanks.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.