Fire Fighters Announce Fund to Restore Vandalized Monument - $11,000 reward still stands for information leading to arrest, conviction

    TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Ontario's professional fire fighters today
announced a $500,000 fundraising initiative that will result in the
restoration of the province's Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, which was damaged
as the result of a shocking act of vandalism earlier this year.
    The Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) is pleased to
recognize the significant contribution made by the Ontario government as part
of this initiative, and the OPFFA is asking all of its members as well as
other fire service stakeholders and fire equipment suppliers to contribute to
the fund, as well as members of the public.
    "I hope that all Ontarians will consider making a contribution to this
fund, because these fire fighters gave their lives while protecting the lives
and property of the public," says OPFFA President Fred LeBlanc. "We owe it to
our fallen and their families to ensure that their memorial is a respectable
and dignified tribute to their sacrifice."
    Contributions to the Ontario Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Restoration
Fund can be made at any TD Canada Trust branch in Ontario - account number
239 5214118. It is hoped to have the monument restored in time for the 2009
Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial.
    At around 9 p.m. on May 12, 2008, a lone male approached the monument,
which is on the grounds of the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park. He painted
slogans on several of its granite walls, which are inscribed with the names of
483 full-time and volunteer fire fighters who have died in the line of duty in
Ontario since 1848. This was not a random act of vandalism; the slogans were
political in nature and specifically targeted fire fighters.
    In June, the OPFFA, in conjunction with the International Association of
Fire Fighters and the Manitoba Professional Fire Fighters Association, offered
an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the
individual who committed this crime. The award still stands, and anyone with
information can contact the OPP.
    "This monument is not just for fire fighters and our families, it's a
place that all Ontarians can visit and reflect on the sacrifices made on their
behalf by fire fighters who have died in the line of duty," LeBlanc says. The
fundraising initiative was announced at Queen's Park Friday at a ceremony also
attended by Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick
Bartolucci, Tim Beckett of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and Dave
Thomson of the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario.

    "The Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association is committed to
seeing Ontario's Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial restored to its original
condition, and we're committed to ensuring that the person responsible for
vandalizing it is caught and punished," LeBlanc said. "We are grateful to
anyone who helps accomplish these two important goals."
    The OPFFA represents 10,000 full-time fire fighters in the province of
Ontario. The OPFFA is affiliated with the Ontario Federation of Labour and the
International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO, CLC.

For further information:

For further information: Fred LeBlanc, President, Ontario Professional
Fire Fighters Association, (613) 328-2195

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International Association of Firefighters

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Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association

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