Firefighters bike 550 km from Hamilton to national memorial in Ottawa
49 names to be added to national firefighters memorial
A group of almost 60 firefighters from across the country are cycling from Hamilton to Ottawa in honour of Canadian firefighters who died because of their service.
Seven of those bikes have the initials R.F. taped onto them.
Paul Osborne, a training captain with the Hamilton Fire Department and vice president of the Greater Hamilton Volunteer Firefighter Association, said Hamilton firefighters are honouring Bob Fenton.
The 65-year-old was an active volunteer but died in mid-August from cancer he got as a result of the job, according to Osborne.
His name will be among 49 names added to the firefighters memorial in Ottawa.
"This is why we do it. We do it to remember the people who came before us," Osborne told CBC Hamilton.
550 km on a bike for 3 days
The bike ride started Wednesday morning. It'll span three days and 550 kilometres. It'll end on Saturday in Ottawa and the next day firefighters will observe National Firefighters Memorial Day.
Toronto firefighter David Cossitt organized the ride and said he started it five years ago in hopes to raise funds for The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF) and to raise awareness of the memorial.
"Once you've been to the memorial and see how the families grieve, but [when] they see you walk into the memorial, the grieving goes away because they appreciate having support there," he said.
This year's ride comes amid the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
On Sept. 11, 2001, a group of Islamic extremists hijacked U.S. passenger jets and flew them into the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Around 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, including more than 400 emergency workers — the majority of whom were firefighters.
"We're very cognizant that this Saturday is the 20th anniversary of that tragic day where we lost 343 of our brothers and sisters at the World Trade Center. It's something that's in mind but is not connected [to the bike ride]," said CFFF president David Sheen.
Sheen said CFFF is also trying to raise $500 through the bike ride to meet its goal of $60,000.
The national firefighters memorial will be live-streamed on Sunday.
With files from CBC