Trent Frankel, the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation executive director, is among the firefighters participating in a 24-hour relay fundraiser June 27. (Nina Grossman/Black Press)

Greater Victoria firefighters lap up new fundraising opportunity

Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt crews hit the track in 24-hour relay June 27

With no grilling and chilling at Willows Beach this year, Oak Bay firefighters were on the hunt for a pandemic-friendly fundraiser.

The firefighters would normally grill up a variety of dogs and pour some beverages in June as part of the team’s biggest fundraiser of the year – Sausage Fest. It was among the many fundraisers and other events cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With weeks of work under his belt, Trent Frankel, the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation executive director, happily reported insurance and all approvals were in place for a 24-hour relay, in full turnout gear. Oak Bay, Victoria, Saanich and Esquimalt firefighters will take turns lapping the track behind Oak Bay High on June 27 to raise funds to meet both their annual fundraising commitments and some new charities.

One person will be on the track at a time with two others in a nearby tent. Those not on the track are charged with collecting donations and ensuring supporters adhere to social distancing requirements.

“That keeps us within provincial guidelines and we’re still able to use this opportunity to do fundraising,” Frenkel said.

They were inspired by Oak Bay resident John Hillman, who did 101 laps of the courtyard at Carlton House to raise over $150,000 for charity.

Greater Victoria firefighters come together for an annual donation to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to meet a $25,000 commitment.

The teams are also known for annual donations to the Terry Fox Run, BC Burn Fund Bright Nights (in Stanley Park) and Santas Anonymous. They also have an eye on expanding beyond the usual charities of choice such as schools and community programs.

“Were trying to look at something for other non-profits,” Frenkel said, citing recent statistics showing many may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. “KidSport, Children’s Hospital Foundation of Vancouver Island, these kind of things are what we want to help to make sure they stay afloat.”

Firefighters start 24 hours of laps on the Oak Bay High track – in full turnout gear – on June 27 at 11 a.m. Stop by the tent to donate cash or by Square for a touch-free transaction.

RELATED: Greater Victoria firefighters warm hearts with $25,000 cheque to help sick children

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Trent Frankel, the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation executive director, is among the firefighters participating in a 24-hour relay fundraiser June 27. (Nina Grossman/Black Press)

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