Tiny firefighters look to burn Toronto rivals in Movember challenge

·3 min read

Tiny Township is laying down the gauntlet for a good cause.

Movember is a fundraising event held each November to raise awareness and support towards prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health, and suicide prevention.

In 2021, Tiny Township joined the Great Canadian Fire Challenge portion of Movember against other fire departments across the continent, with one goal in mind: to beat Toronto Fire Services who had always won the annual challenge.

As a result, Tiny’s efforts raised a total of $65,910 for the cause, bettering Toronto’s fundraising of $23,977.

During the regular meeting of Tiny council today, Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma prepared his raised air-finger quotes and addressed a challenge he wanted to pose to Toronto Fire Services.

“Last year, we crushed them,” said Walma. “It was fantastic, it was a ton of fun to do, but it kind of came to our attention that Toronto may not have known that they were actually in a competition with us.”

Walma then declared that he wanted to “drop the gloves” and “poke the bear” to see if more money could be raised for Movember by “drawing out the giant.”

His proposed resolution to council was as follows:

* Whereas the Township of Tiny fire department raised over $65,000 for the Movember campaign and men’s health initiatives in 2021; * And whereas they placed first out of all fire departments in North America; * And whereas one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime; * And further, that the City of Toronto and Toronto Fire Services finished second in fundraising, to a much smaller department with 2,700 fewer firefighters; * And further, that Toronto Fire Services – even though they joined the Great Canadian Fire Challenge competition – may not have known they were in a competition; * And further that healthy competition improves fundraising efforts; * Now therefore be it resolved that Tiny council directs staff to ‘poke the bear’ and formally challenge Toronto Fire Services to a fundraising competition; * And further that our Chief (Dave) Flewelling personally drop the proverbial gloves and taunt Chief (Matthew) Pegg into a friendly competition in the name of men’s health and men’s mental health awareness.

Walma delivered several of the lines with air-quotes, stifled laughter, and a smug face full of pride. Several members of council also shared laughter during his presentation.

Council unanimously endorsed the motion, with Coun. Gibb Wishart actively seconding it, having experienced prostate cancer himself, as he stated.

Fire Chief Dave Flewelling was asked if his department was up for the challenge.

“Any time we can assist and spark some healthy competition, the charity is the one that benefits. It doesn’t really matter what department wins, the charity matters,” said Flewelling.

Mayor George Cornell noted that the 2021 victory was made possible in large part through the efforts of Movember team captain Samantha Barnett.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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