Three members of the North Dundas Fire Department spent 24 hours outside, including overnight in a tent on the roof of Winchester Foodland as a fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy. From left: Brodie Lutz, Brett Lannin, and Sean Donovan.  Tinkess Photo


WINCHESTER – If you were in the parking lot at the Winchester Foodland on Saturday, you might have seen the top of a tent poking up above the bright red Foodland sign. That was home for a group of North Dundas’ firefighters while they raised funds for Muscular Dystrophy by spending 24 hours out in the cold.

Sean Donovan, along with Brett Lannin and Brodie Lutz were the three intrepid campers. “We’ve always done a fundraising campaign,” said Donovan. “Normally for us, it’s in October. I had the benefit of attending the Muscular Dystrophy Briefing seminar they had in Toronto, and I got to meet a lot of firefighters from across Canada. Rooftop camping is one thing that they do. A lot of people are familiar with “fill the boot”, but they’re not familiar with the rooftop camp out. I thought, what a great way to get another opportunity to get involved with the community. I brought back the idea, I got some volunteers and I spoke to Dan Pettigrew, the owner of Foodland, he’s been phenomenal in his support, and he offered up his rooftop.”

All three agreed that being involved was just a way to help with a great cause. “All the money we raise is going to muscular dystrophy, there’s absolutely nothing in it for the fire department,” said Lannin. “Really, we’re just volunteering our time to help a good cause and kind of spread awareness to people, we get talking to everyone. And I don’t think a lot of people realize how expensive things like wheelchairs and stuff are. We’re raising some awareness that way too, for people to realize how good of a cause it is.”

According to Lutz, it’s especially nice to interact with people under different circumstances than they usually might. “It’s nice to get out in the community, normally when people see us, it’s not the best time,” said Lutz. “So, it’s nice to get out talking to people when it’s not a desperate time in their life.”

A steady stream of people went in and out of Foodland on Saturday afternoon, and there weren’t many that didn’t stop to drop a donation into the boots that were placed for that purpose. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Donovan. “And it’s not surprising, really. Our campaigns that we’ve done in Chesterville before, did very well, so it’s no surprise here in Winchester; the amount of donations is excellent.”

According to Donovan, with so many good charities doing so much good work, you really must find something different to capture the public’s attention. “As far as muscular dystrophy goes, the fire departments across North America have been a part of muscular dystrophy right from the beginning in 1954. As they explain it, we’re part of their DNA.”

When everything was totalled up, the event raised $3,663 for muscular dystrophy. “While I’m not surprised about the generosity of our community, that amount does have some wow factor to it, seeing as it was over a one-day event,” said Donovan. “It definitely speaks to how incredible this community is and we’d like to thank them for their support.

“Of course we could not have been this successful without the help of Dan Pettigrew and his Foodland staff. They went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed.