$20K boost will allow N.S. firefighting charity to expand services

·2 min read
Cheryl Lamerson, left, and Sonny Goldstein, right, present a cheque for $20,000 to the Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund at the Lorne Street Fire Company in Lunenburg on Wednesday. (Dylan Jones/CBC - image credit)
Cheryl Lamerson, left, and Sonny Goldstein, right, present a cheque for $20,000 to the Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund at the Lorne Street Fire Company in Lunenburg on Wednesday. (Dylan Jones/CBC - image credit)

A charity that provides financial assistance to Nova Scotia firefighters dealing with sudden illness or injury on the job has received its largest ever donation thanks to the redevelopment of a Lunenburg landmark.

The $20,000 will allow the Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund to provide a wider range of support services to firefighters across the province.

Created in 2019, the fund primarily helps firefighters cover costs associated with travelling for medical appointments, including fuel, meals and lodging.

"Cost associated with great distances to medical appointments or recuperating from an illness can quickly add up and significantly impact a family's financial resources," said Martin Walton, the fund's president.

"We want to relieve those pressures."

Dylan Jones/CBC
Dylan Jones/CBC

Sonny Goldstein, who owns a mutual fund dealership in Toronto, purchased the historic Addington Arms B&B in Lunenburg last year. He plans to renovate the property to turn it into a gallery and residential apartments, but didn't want the B&B's antique furniture to end up in a landfill. So he decided to sell it.

"I didn't need the money and I'd rather do something good," Goldstein said. "At this stage of my life, it's all about helping people."

Dylan Jones/CBC
Dylan Jones/CBC

Goldstein said he wanted the funds to go to a good cause in Nova Scotia, but he needed help selling the furniture because he lives out of province.

He approached Cheryl Lamerson, the owner of Lunenburg Community Consignment. The store receives about 2,000 items a week and 20 per cent of proceeds go to local charities.

Lamerson and Goldstein decided the Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund was a worthy beneficiary.

Lamerson said the fund is especially important for volunteer firefighters who make up around 95 per cent of all firefighters in the province.

Dylan Jones/CBC
Dylan Jones/CBC

It's also a cause close to her heart: her husband, Will Brooks, is a former firefighter and past president of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

"If you're a volunteer firefighter and you get hurt on the fire ground, you may not be able to do your full-time job," Lamerson said. "You may need some extra help to look after yourself and your family."

Lamerson was able to sell around $16,000 worth of the furniture.

She did the majority of the sales from her home because the items were too big for the consignment store. The project served as a distraction while she battles ovarian cancer, she said.

"I was able to take my mind off the illness and think about doing something good," said Lamerson.

After seeing Lamerson's dedication to selling the items, Goldstein raised the donation to $20,000.

Walton said the donation will directly impact firefighters and their families.

"Currently we only provide a small amount of emergency funding to firefighters," he said. "This donation will allow us to expand the long-term care we can give to ... firefighters and their families."

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