First responders to compete for charity

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Airdrie firefighters and EMS workers are competing to see who can sell the most train tickets for the sixth annual Great Airdrie Train Race Dec. 21 at the Airdrie Festival of Lights (AFOL).

“Both of them have a chosen charity that proceeds from the evening will be shared amongst. So the winning team gets a little bit bigger piece of the pie and the – I won’t say losing, but non-winning team – gets the other chunk of the pie,” said Michelle Pirzek, AFOL co-ordinator.

EMS workers are raising funds for the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society and firefighters are raising funds for the Tim Jackson Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honour of the fallen firefighter.

The event will take place at Nose Creek Park from 6 to 9 p.m. and attendees can choose which train to ride to support either cause.

“It’s just fun watching fire and EMS battle it out on the tracks, for one. But two, it helps two really great charity organizations within Airdrie, as well. And that’s been our mandate from day one, is to support as local as we can,” Pirzek said.

Train tickets are $2 a person. Pets are welcome to ride along and kids two and under ride free. The trains will take their normal routes but will be operated by firefighters and EMS workers for the evening.

Pirzek said the event was created six years ago as a way to bring awareness to local groups and organizations the AFOL society partners with. She encourages people to attend and cheer on the trains.

“Support is strongly encouraged. We want you to come down, we want you to pick a team, we want you to help build that little bit of competitiveness between the two groups because it just becomes a little bit funner,” she said. “Our first responders see a lot of things that most people in their lifetime wouldn’t witness once, and these guys and girls see it every single day. And so an opportunity to come together as a group and give back as a group I think is just – it’s good love for them.”

For more information about the Tim Jackson Memorial Scholarship Fund, visit airdriefirefighters.com/timjackson

For more information about the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society, visit airdrievictimassistance.com

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