Neil and Genna McMillan, both members of Ottawa, ON Local 162, dedicated 1,000 workouts over the last 1,000 days to honor IAFF members who died in the line of duty from an occupational illness or hazard.
“Their grit – that never quit attitude – is a testimony to what it means to never forget. No doubt their efforts have helped others remember those we have lost and made the public more aware of the dangers fire fighters face on the job,” said General President Edward Kelly.
Neil, who serves as the IAFF’s Director of Science and Research, and Genna, who serves as Local 162 vice president, started their mission in 2020, just before the pandemic began.
“We were on our way to a cancer symposium in Miami, thinking about how hard it can be to get cancer claims approved and what we can do to stay motivated to keep fighting,” said Genna. “Starting with our fellow Local 162 members who had lost their battles with occupational diseases, we decided to do an hour workout each day and post about it with a picture and story of one of our fallen.”
Their efforts received so much support and positive feedback that once they had honored the Local 162 fallen, the McMillans kept going. After a year, they upped the goal to 500 and, eventually, 1,000.
“What began as a small gesture grew to have incredible impacts on both of us,” said Neil. “With each brother and sister remembered and each story told, Genna and I increasingly became focused on what truly binds us as members and as family. And it reminded us about the importance of what we do as union leaders to extinguish cancer and keep members safe from the hazards of the job.”
Kelly echoed his sentiments.
“When we win the fight against cancer, it will be because of people who never give up,” said the General President. “Folks like Genna and Neil, who work hard every day to improve the lives and livelihoods of our members.”
Find the posts at Twitter handles @NeilMcMillan162 and @GennaMcMillan.