Retired Firefighter Makes PG Pit Stop on Cross Country Bike Ride
Prince George, B.C. – A retired firefighter from Kitimat has wheeled into Prince George as part of his cross country trek to raise funds for the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund.
60-year-old Mark Zielinksi retired as a fire captain two years ago after over 35 years of service with the Kitimat Fire Department and has cycled 650 km of his projected 7,500 km ride to St. John’s Newfoundland.
His goal is to raise $20,000 and is nearly a third of the way there ($6,000). He says he’s always wanted to cycle across Canada and thought he’d “kill two birds with one stone” and raise money for a charity close to his heart at the same time.
“I’ve had cases over the years in my career where I’ve had to deal with burn victims and I think at the end of the day you can say that a firefighter’s a hero but I think the real hero is the person who manages to survive the fire and is a survivor.”
Mark admits he was also inspired to make the trip after his son Andrew – a firefighter with Prince George Fire Rescue – was accepted to be a burn camp counsellor down in Squamish.
He says all proceeds from the ride will go to pay for a number of services including surgeries, equipment, supplies, therapies and burn camps.
Mark, a fitness buff who is self financing the entire trip, figures if he cycles an average of 100 km to 120 km a day he should arrive at his destination the second week of August.
To help with the cause son Andrew and his colleagues presented Mark with a cheque for $1,000 Wednesday night after a successful fundraiser last month.
He admits he’s a proud son.
“Very much so, he’s 60 years old. It was always his goal to bike across Canada when he turned 60 and he’s already cycled 650 km.”
If you’d like to learn more about his trip check out his Facebook page ‘Mark’s Cross-Canada Bike Ride 2016 to Raise Money for the BCPFF Burn Fund.’
You can also donate to the cause by hitting the following link: http://www.cross-canadabikeride2016.ca/home.html.