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Picton firefighters add fuel to hospital fundraising efforts

Pictured at Station 1 in Picton with the Picton Firefighters are Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation (pictured at centre, left) and Nancy Parks, Back the Build Campaign Co-Chairperson (pictured at centre, right). Briar Boyce photo

The Picton Firefighters Association turned up the heat on Tuesday evening as members presented the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation with a $7,000 gift to Back the Build of the County’s new hospital.

This gift brings the Picton firefighters’ cumulative giving to $10,000 over three years, in support of the campaign.

“We’re proud and honoured to help our community by continuing to raise funds that will Back the Build for our new County hospital,” said Brendan Bellchamber, president of the Picton Firefighters Association. “Firefighters are known traditionally for giving back to their communities so we’re keeping that tradition alive and well in Prince Edward County,”

When firefighters get into their gear, their priority is saving lives – at fire scenes, car accidents, and during medical emergencies in the community. And now, they’ve reached out with another donation to build the new hospital.

“Whenever they are needed, firefighters will always answer the call. They are the ones who run into a burning building to help, or extract someone out of a vehicle after a collision. Today, they are answering another call, a call to help us realize our goal of a new hospital in the County,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “We extend special thanks to all of the Station 1 firefighters with the Picton Firefighters’ Association for going above and beyond to raise money to support the building of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital’s future home.”

The funds were raised through various activities undertaken by the Picton Firefighters Association, including the annual Christmas tree sales held at Station 1 in Picton. In 2021, 300 trees were sold, fueling $4,000 of this donation to the PECMHF. The remaining $3,000 was raised through tree sales in 2020.

“We are indebted to everyone who purchases a tree from us year-after-year,” said Bellchamber. “We work hard to support the community as best we can on shift and off shift. We wouldn’t be able to give back so much if it weren’t for the love and support of our family members and spouses. They’re the ones who stand with us when our pagers go off, the ones we leave during the middle of dinner and they’re the ones who wake up with us in the middle of the night when we are called for duty. We are grateful for their support and understanding, too.”

The new hospital will have leading-edge infection control and ventilation, wider halls for modern medical equipment and larger patient rooms each with its own washroom. The Prince Edward Family Health Team will continue to run clinics at the hospital and at the Picton Clinic. The new hospital will be bigger with a footprint of over 90,000 square feet and 20 inpatient rooms.

“Firefighters know the importance of having a leading-edge hospital in the community as they see medical emergencies on a regular basis. Their generosity and commitment to our new hospital is extraordinary. We are so thankful,” said Nancy Parks, campaign co-chair of the Back the Build campaign.

Established in 1958, the Picton Firefighters Association is a team of 30 full-time and volunteer members. Their fundraising efforts benefit sports teams, children’s camps, Reaching for Rainbows and kid-friendly activities such as the Picton Easter Egg Hunt and the Swim to Survive Water Safety Program. The association decides as a group how their donations will benefit the community.

“We’re in this to help the community. Our members are proud to participate in helping to improve the lives of the people we protect beyond the emergency work we do,” Bellchamber said. “And, we have a lot of fun while we’re doing it.”

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