Stamp unveiled to thank Canada’s firefighters
At the age of two, Michael Sears knew what he would be when he grew up: a firefighter. Incredibly, there are five generations of firefighters in his family. Now a fire captain with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, he’s discovered that firefighters aren’t always thanked, for practical reasons. For example, the people they extract from a totalled vehicle may be unconscious and rushed to the hospital. The firefighters who responded may never see them again.
“Quite often, firefighters don’t learn the outcome of the incidents they respond to,” said Sears, “and we don’t always get thanked by people for what we did to help them.”
Then he gestured at an enormous enlargement of a postage stamp that had just been unveiled on the stage behind him. It depicts a determined firefighter up close as two firefighters battle an inferno in the background.
“So to be here, to see this…what a tremendous honour.”
The stamp is all about thanking firefighters for their skills, service and sacrifices.
The stamp was unveiled at the Union Fire Club Pipes and Drums Band Building in Halifax, home to the country’s oldest fire department. The firefighter stamp is part of a five-stamp Emergency Responders issue; the other stamps pay tribute to the courageous members of the Canadian Armed Forces, paramedics, police officers, and search and rescue experts who protect and assist Canadians in emergencies.
Firefighters don’t do what they do “for admiration or accolades, but once in a while, it’s certainly nice to realize that people recognize their service and sacrifice,” said Halifax Fire Chief Ken Stuebing. “This gesture by Canada Post is appreciated by fire services across Canada.”
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Firefighters run toward danger, not from it; and they face danger not alone, but as part of a team. Within fire halls and departments, and between fire departments, the work forms deep bonds.
On Sept. 11, Sears was in the U.S. for a ceremony honouring firefighters who fell in the line of duty on 9/11. Someone who learned it was his birthday said it was “crummy” that he was away from his family.
“I looked around at the shoulder flashes of firefighters from all across North America, and I was so proud to wear my department’s logo, so I smiled and said, ‘yeah, I’m away from home, but this is my family, too.’”
The firefighters’ stamp is for every member of that family, across all of Canada.
All five stamps in the series are for sale at retail outlets across the country and at canadapost.ca