Canadian First Responder International Support Alliance (CFRISA) – Ukraine Fundraiser
The current focus for CFRISA is to focus on raising financial support from two primary streams: (1) Ukraine Firefighters and (2) Ukraine Medical First Responders. Through an alliance with Firefighter Aid Ukraine, any financial support fundraised through our volunteer group is earmarked according to the First Responder stream (Fire or Medical/Humanitarian Aid). The financial support will be put towards identified needs such as shipping donated equipment, purchasing specialized equipment in Canada and shipping it to Ukraine, or purchasing equipment sourced near or in Ukraine.
CFRISA is working with an alliance partner Firefighter Aid Ukraine, a not-for-profit organization with the mission “to collect unneeded/unwanted firefighter bunker/turnout gear, personal protective equipment (PPE), life rescue equipment, and medical supplies from fire departments and vendors in Canada, as well as to raise the necessary funds to send these goods to first responders in various locations of Ukraine who are in desperate need of equipment and supplies required to fulfill their duties to serve and protect citizens, while ensuring one’s own safety”. Firefighter Aid Ukraine is working with CFRISA to allocate any financial assistance raised through our campaigns to the areas in most need of both fire and medical service First Responders in Ukraine.
CFRISA members know that there will be many needs for the First Responders in Ukraine, both short and long-term. Short-term needs may be focused on active response capabilities and personal protection, whereas long-term needs may be focused on rebuilding. CFRISA’s membership has committed to trying to establish ongoing financial assistance for Ukraine First Responders, as well as building the capability to assist First Responders in other countries requiring similar needs.
CFRISA’s website, https://CANrespondUKR.com, will be the host for information on current fundraising campaigns, as well as information on where the financial support has been provided.
Canadian First Responders Supporting Ukraine First Responders Campaign
Brotherhood/Sisterhood is an important piece of First Responder culture. They understand what they each go through on a daily basis, they lean on each other and they support each other in any way that they can. Geographic location does not change this and that is why this campaign is being held by Canadian First Responders for their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
The first campaign that CFRISA is running is the “Canadian First Responders Supporting Ukraine First Responders”. We are kicking this campaign off with a national Challenge Coin competition between the different First Response agencies.
History of Challenge Coins
The history of challenge coins began almost 100 years ago by the American Army. During World War I, the story goes that “a rich officer gave his men bronze medallions featuring the insignia of their flying squadron. Not long after that, a young flying ace (airman) was shot down and captured. Germans are said to have removed everything from the ace’s person except for a pouch he was wearing — one that held his medallion. After he escaped to France, he was sentenced to die, as the French labelled him a spy. However, the ace presented his medallion as proof of his identity. Because one of the French soldiers recognized the insignia, France delayed the ace’s execution. After his identity was confirmed, the ace was returned to his flying unit.”
The “challenge” of the coins began during World War II when Americans in Germany started to do coin checks and if it was known that you had been presented one, but did not have it on your person, you had to buy a round of drinks. This tradition still exists today.
Challenge coins are now used throughout all First Responder agencies, as well as other organizations, to show signs of respect, leadership and jobs well done. They are very meaningful for those giving them and for those receiving them.
The traditional way of giving a Challenge Coin to a recipient is through a handshake.
Challenge Coin Fundraising Campaign and Coin Sales
We have created two separate challenge coins, one being dedicated to the Fire Service and the other dedicated to the Medical First Responders.