Chilliwack Fire Department fired up for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Day

Local firefighters are willing volunteers at the annual fundraiser for disadvantaged children who want to play organized sports.

Chilliwack’s Canadian Tire hosts its annual Jumpstart Day Saturday.

The annual event raises money to help economically disadvantaged children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to play organized sports.

Chilliwack’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include a barbecue, car-wash and live music throughout the day. Lots of sports groups will be there to promote their clubs and ICBC is bringing their roll-over car.

The local fire department is always involved, and Hall 4 is out again this year.

“We’re actually more involved this year than ever before,” said the Chilliwack Fire Department’s Lisa Axelson. “Instead of five guys like we’ve had in the past, we’re probably going to have 15 of our members there helping with the day.”

Visitors will be able to hop into Engine 4-1 and get a picture taken and emailed to them by the assistant chief’s son.

Firemen will be helping with the car-wash.

The fire department’s rehab vehicle will be there, providing cover for a new addition to this year’s festivities, a live band.

“I think that’s very cool,” Axelson said. “Our truck has a generator in it so the band’s equipment can be undercover if it rains.”

“I’ve seen Jumpstart Day growing every year and I think that’s great because all the money raised stays local and that means more kids get to benefit from the stuff that we’re doing.”

Axelson makes a point of being there every year.

You’ll usually find her in the tent with the hot-dogs, handing out popcorn.

“Three years ago there was a young fella whose mom was on disability and couldn’t afford to put him into anything,” she said of her most memorable Jumpstart Day moment. “He wanted to play football, and between Jumpstart and the Chilliwack Giants he got to play.”

“He was there, helping with the car-wash in the jersey and it was fabulous seeing his mom and the pride that she had.”

It’s stories like that that make it easy to help out, and Axelson said she never has to twist any arms to find volunteers.

“I didn’t even put the information out and I had Hall 4 calling to ask if we had Jumpstart this year, because they had guys lined up to do it,” she said. “They don’t get paid for this. They come out and do this because they want to do this.”

“They’ve taken this on as their personal crusade and I don’t even have to ask anymore. I forgot to email and phone to remind them, and it was already done.”

“I thought that was the coolest thing.”

The local Jumpstart Day raised $2,000 last year, with 100 per cent of donations staying in the community.

Nationally, Jumpstart celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and also celebrated helping 1 million children since 2005.