HMCS Winnipeg runs for the Burn Fund

HMCS Winnipeg

“The Herd” Running Club team members onboard HMCS Winnipeg run to raise money for Manitoba’s Fire Fighter’s Burn Fund while on deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

Kateryna Bandura, 
Lookout Editor

H MCS Winnipeg raised over $2,900 for the Manitoba Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund on deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

“It goes to show all things are possible with the right perspective, adaptability, and perseverance,” said Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Derek Wilkinson, organizer of the run.

HMCS Winnipeg’s crew adopted the Firefighters Burn Fund as their ‘home’ charity to support soon after the ship was commissioned in June 1995, and they have maintained that commitment over the years.

Four crew members supported the charity this year by hosting a run during Winnipeg’s 2022 Indo-Pacific deployment.

“This was an opportunity to challenge myself while helping people on long and difficult journeys, the people that the Burn Fund supports,” PO2 Wilkinson said.

The Firefighters Burn Fund was created in March 1978. Manitoba’s Fire Service personnel volunteer their time and effort in raising funds to support exceptional burn care, treatment, rehabilitation, and research.

Four members of ‘The Herd’ running club aboard Winnipeg hosted this year’s run: PO2 Wilkinson, Sailor First Class Hubert Desbiens, Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Cael Halvorsen, and SLt Loic Richard. PO2 Wilkinson said he was glad to see the ship get behind the cause while it was in theatre of operations.

While Winnipeg was at sea, the runners completed segments on treadmills, in 80-metre loops around the flight deck, and 70-metre loops around the upper decks, all spanning over 48 hours. The runners worked at logging higher than usual mileage during training at slower paces to get their legs used to the extra volume.

“We ate a lot of granola bars and drank a lot of coffee,” said PO2 Wilkinson.

SLt Richard said his participation in the run was motivated by the desire to raise money for those who need it and to challenge himself physically and mentally.

“I can confidently say this activity was everything I hoped for,” he said. “I am proud of what Winnipeg contributed to the Burn Fund, and I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given to push my physical and mental barriers. Let’s Go Winnipeg!”

The runners had been getting fit for months ahead of time. The members agreed the most challenging part was the midnight monotony of running on a treadmill in the dark after only about 90 minutes of sleep.

S1 Desbiens said his love for running made the challenge much easier.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up,” he said.

The event created a lot of buzz among the crew and was an excellent morale-raising opportunity as the ship’s company often came by the treadmills to cheer the runners on and lend their support.

Although only four members did the running, everyone was invited to sponsor them. In a show of incredible generosity, one member stunned the runners with a staggering $1,000 donation.

“I am extremely proud of our four runners and the sailors who supported them,” said Commander Annick Fortin, Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg. “This event speaks to our motto ‘One with the strength of many’. Our runners gave their time, dedication and energy, and our sailors gave them their support by cheering them on and sponsoring their effort.”

Burn Fund

Signs were put around the ship to encourage the crew to support the four runners.

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