With helmets in hands, Cayman’s firemen pounded the pavement Monday to raise funds for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, collecting $4,000 in cash from motorists, to add to $1,500 already received through corporate donations.
The roughly 25 firemen, five of whom strapped on their boots and breathing apparatus for the special walk, braved the inclement weather for the worthy cause.
“It was simply amazing,” organiser fireman Tony Chisholm said as he expressed his gratitude for the community’s support for the initiative from the Blue Watch team in the Cayman Islands Fire Service.
Chisholm said he was overjoyed when the team tallied the funds collected at the end of the one hour and 45 minute walk from Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue to Government House on West Bay Road. He added that donations are still coming in.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker also made the trek, despite the early morning downpour, to help raise money.
“It was absolutely fantastic. The generosity of the people of the Cayman Islands today has just amazed me.. It’s inspiring actually. I think we’ve got a good amount of money collected for the Crisis Centre. Everyone’s in good spirits. These charity events always do raise morale,” Walker said.
Governor Martyn Roper was on hand at the start of the walk to give the firemen a send-off.
He commended them for their initiative and wished them well as they embarked on their 5K walk.
Roper was also joined by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who was among the first to dip into his pocket to make a donation in a fireman’s helmet.
“I think we did an outstanding job and we will definitely be back out next year,” Chisholm said.
The walk was expected to conclude at The Strand, but the firemen kept going until Government House, which is about 200 yards away from the shopping complex.
Crisis Centre executive director Ania Milanowska welcomed the donations, saying the fundraiser was “absolutely one of the most important initiatives” for the charity.
“We are very, very grateful and very happy that the centre is the beneficiary of this walk. Originally they were intending to raise money for a different cause, but then because of COVID and all the restrictions, Tony [Chisholm] contacted us, and when he said they would like to help the Crisis Centre instead, I was very, very touched that they decided to support us,” she said.
This year has been very challenging for everyone, especially for charities, Milanowska said, adding the centre has been limited in its fundraising efforts in 2020.
“We were not able to raise as much money as we were hoping to. So any donation large or small, and especially this donation, will definitely go towards our operational costs,” Milanowska said.