Township firefighters in the giving spirit

A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)
A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)
A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)
A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)
A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)
A few dozen firefighters from the Township of Langley are once again taking part in the Bright Nights at Stanley Park. It’s a fundraiser running this month for the burn fund. (Special to Langley Advance Times)A few dozen firefighters from the Township of Langley are once again taking part in the Bright Nights at Stanley Park. It’s a fundraiser running this month for the burn fund. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)A team of Township of Langley firefighters were at Bright Nights this past Tuesday again, to serve as hosts and greet guests as they came to the charity Christmas event. (TLFCS/Special to Langley Advance Times)

’Tis the season for giving, and that’s just what Langley Township firefighters are doing – in a big way.

This past week, firefighters from various halls have been participating in their annual Christmas season Candy Cane Runs (see related story, page ??), which runs parades of fire trucks through most neighbourhoods within the Township.

As well, more than a dozen local firefighters have once again been part of the huge Bright Nights fundraiser in Stanley Park.

And kicking off this past Monday, the local fire crews started delivering $1,000 a day to 12 selected non-profits in this community.

Bright Nights is in its 25th year this Christmas, and it provides an opportunity for people to visit the Vancouver park and tour acres of lights during the entire month of December.

With the absence of the vintage trains this year, the show looks a little different. But it still offering twinkly tunnel of lights and dazzling displays set up by the firefighters. The family event also features an antique fire truck and giant red reindeer, food vendors, and live entertainment, trumpeted Steve McLay, co-director of the Township of Langley Firefighter’s Charitable Society (TLFCS).

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The Township firefighters have been part of this efforts since Langley switch to full-time firefighters in 2006, and members are always eager and willing to help out the cause, McLay said.

This year, more than a dozen Langley Township firefighters spent two days helping set up Bright Nights, and about a dozen were on hand this past Tuesday (Dec. 13) to help host the event – which runs 4 to 10 p.m. nightly – and help raise money for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

“We do all the lights, so people can walk around and take it all in and have a magical night that helps out the burn fund,” he elaborated, “…it’s a cause near and dear to our hearts because of all the fantastic work they do.”

Through the years, in addition to volunteering their time, local firefighters also raise money for the cause. It seems, McLay said, the amount Langley gives is increasing each year. At the end of November, for instance, the charitable society donated $7,500 to Bright Nights, and this past summer they contributed a further $10,000 at the Burn Camp kickoff.

Also in the works, the 12 Days of Giving is another Christmas-themed initiative that sees the local firefighters giving back to their community “when it’s most needed,” McLay said.

Firefighters themselves submit recommendations for which charities should receive what he calls a helping hand.

“A few charities in particular are hit hard at this time of year,” and receiving even a small donation of $1,000 can mean the world of difference for them, McLay explained, noting the first contribution was delivered a little early to the Langley Special Olympians during their recent Christmas party.

“They always ask us to stick around for dinner and dancing, but really, I’m not a good dancer,” McLay said with a chuckle, noting the presentation to these athletes always helps get him into the Christmas spirit.

READ MORE: Plan to hire 40 firefighters in four years approved by Langley Township council

The 12 Days of Giving countdown began Monday, Dec. 12, and during the subsequent days leading up to Christmas, each day a couple firefighters will adorn Santa hats and visit the other recipient charities.

“Our members like to go out to the selected charities to drop off the cheque, chat with them, and hear more about the impact the donation will make,” he said.

In addition to Langley Special Olympics, the other 2022 recipients – which have received donations in past – are: Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, Critter Care Wildlife Society, Ishtar Resource Society, Sources Food Bank, Hope After Stroke, Gateway of Hope, Langley Meals on Wheels, and Nicomekl Enhancement Society. New recipients this year are Night Shift Ministries, the Aldergrove Veterans & Seniors Society, and Project Resiliency (run through the Langley School District Foundation).

“This money is from a lot of the fundraising that we do throughout the year,” McLay noted, saying 50 per cent of funds raised at this year’s mayor’s gala went to the TLFCS charities, along with a portion of the proceeds from calendar sales (See related story on this page), payroll deductions, and the summer golf tournament.

Admittedly, a majority of the TLFCS funds raised each year are earmarked for one key beneficiary, ie. the golf tourney raised money for Langley country music star Dallas Smith’s mental health Lifted charity, and a lot of the mayor’s gala funds were earmarked for the new Foundry Langley.

But, a portion of the money raised is always targeted to the firefighter fund, which is then divided up. A larger chuck of those TLFC funds, this year, are going towards setting up an endowment fund that will keep the firefighters keep operating and grow their snack program in Langley schools.

There’s a lot of Christmas spirit apparent in the firehalls around Langley Township this holiday season, McLay said.

“As you can tell, there’s a lot of different people anxious to help out in different aspects… honestly, it’s great. So, from all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas.”

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