Celtic Memorial Fire Ride rolls through Napanee en route to Ottawa

Cyclists with the seventh annual Celtic Memorial Fire Ride travel along Advance Avenue in Napanee as they make their way way towards Ottawa. The ride raises funds for the Canadian Fallen Firefighter Fund. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

A brigade of 74 firefighters pedaled through Greater Napanee on Thursday afternoon, making a brief stop at the town’s fire station before heading west to Kingston.

Known as the Celtic Memorial Fire Ride, the three-day, 575 km journey kicked off in Hamilton on Sept. 6 and is slated to arrive in Ottawa on Friday. Along the way they’ll be collecting pledges for the Canadian Fallen Firefighter Fund.

“This is our seventh year and it’s our largest group this year, 15 more than we had last year,” said David Cossitt, president of the Toronto Fire Celtic Society, a member of the Toronto Fire Services and event organizer. “It’s a little more hectic and the weather’s been a little warm which has added to the stress of the ride, but we’re getting through it.”

Cossitt was speaking at the Napanee fire hall, where the riders took a few minutes to cool off and replenish their liquids before completing the final leg of the day. While there they also received a donation from Town of Greater Napanee as well as members of Greater Napanee Fire Services.

David Cossitt, president of the Toronto Celtic Fire Society, is greeted by Dean Martin of Greater Napanee Fire Services as the riders made a brief stop at the Napanee fire hall. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

The ride coincides with the annual National Firefighters Memorial service in Ottawa on Sept. 10, which pays tribute to all firefighters lost in the line of duty. At the site is a wall that contains the name of every fallen firefighter dating back to the late 1800s, with 1,811 names currently listed. Another 82 will be added as part of this year’s service.

“Being a Toronto firefighter, there’s nine from Toronto and three that I personally worked with so it’s very close to my heart this year,” said Cossitt. “The ride has become the biggest fundraiser for the foundation, something that we’re very proud of. We surpassed $3,000 this year total for the seven years so we’re really happy about that.”

This year in particular has been a trying year for first responders as they battle unprecedented wild fires across the country.

“There’s been wildland firefighters killed in the line of the duty,” said Cossitt. “They will be recognized next year but they’re always in our minds as we’re riding this year.”

They’re currently accepting donations for their ride, which can be done at www.celticfireride.ca.

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