I talked with Jodie earlier tonight and promised I would not stay up too late, but that I would post something. So I've got some photos from the recent trip to Toronto. I happened to walk past Princess Margaret Hospital (Ontario's 'premier' cancer hospital), and had Anna take this photo. Ever the Canadian patriot, I even have a flag planted on top of my shiny dome.
Then I walked north a block to Queen's Park (Ontario's Legislature, for my 'foreign' readers). On the grounds of this majestic building is the Ontario Fallen Firefighters' Memorial. On the Memorial are the names of 344 Ontario firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.
On that list, near the bottom of the last panel I searched, is the name of the only North Bay firefighter to give his life protecting the good people here, Platoon Chief Guy Cantin. Now I did not work with Guy, but many of my colleagues did, and every one of them has good stories to tell. (Sometimes I think a fire department is simply a collection of stories about those who have come before.) At Station One we have a painting, showing a bunker gear locker, empty of firefighter's clothing but for Guy's coat and boots. The painting hangs at the top of the stairs between the kitchen and the apparatus floor. Each time we get a call, we pass it. To me, the painting says, 'Guy is watching out for us.' That is, after all, the primary responsibility of a PC--make sure everyone goes home.
My current Platoon Chief, Richard Woodward, was a good friend of Guy's. Woody watched Guy die of cancer.
Woody's been great to me over the last few months, watching out for me like a guardian angel. I know he'd do it for any one who needs a helping hand, that's just the kind of man he is. So Woody, thank you. We're here for you, too.
Here's an article from the BBC which provides a good synopsis of the increased rates of cancer among firefighters.