Kingston Fire and Rescue to ‘Sparky’ some joy amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sparky the fire dog is ready to send birthday wishes to anyone in Kingston during the current pandemic. Photo via Kingston Fire and Rescue.

No matter the age, a birthday should always be a time of celebration, excitement, and happiness.

A birthday marks another year of exciting events, new relationships, interesting travels, and new experiences, but the current social distancing and self-isolation precautions in place due to COVID-19 mean that many cannot celebrate these special days in the way they would like, or with who they love.

In an effort to brighten those very special birthday celebrations, Kingston Fire and Rescue has assigned their fire safety dog, Sparky, to take charge of a very special new initiative they are calling ‘Sparky’ some joy!

“As a result of COVID-19, events have been cancelled and we have had to close our fire stations to the public. This, along with all the other impacts of the pandemic, has been difficult for families, and kids especially,” said Ted Posadowski, Chief Fire Prevention Officer with Kingston Fire and Rescue.

Through the campaign, residents within the City of Kingston can submit a request to have Sparky the Dog send super-special birthday wishes via video to a friend or family member who are celebrating their special day between now and Sunday, May 31, 2020.

“If you have someone in your life who is celebrating a birthday, Sparky wants to make it extra special by sending them a personalized birthday wish,” Posadowski explained.

Residents who wish to submit a request to Sparky are asked to follow the directions below:

  • Email requests to:  [email protected]
  • Write BIRTHDAY in capital letters in the subject line

In the body portion of the email, senders are asked to include:

  • First name of the person celebrating a birthday
  • Their age
  • A phone number for the sender, just in case one of Sparky’s assistants needs to contact you

Residents who submit a special birthday request via email will receive a brief reply back acknowledging their submitted request.

The department requests that anyone interested in submitting a birthday request do so at least two days in advance of the actual date of the birthday.

If the birthday is on a Monday, the request should be submitted before 8 a.m. Thursday, and if the birthday is on Friday the request should be submitted before 8 a.m. on the Wednesday.

Kingston Fire and Rescue also said it is not mandatory, but anyone who requests a birthday wish from Sparky is asked to consider making a donation to United Way of KFL&A’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. The Community Response and Recovery Fund supports organizations within our community who are helping those directly impacted by COVID-19.

“This is a short-term solution, and way to give back to our community. We hope residents will support this initiative and consider donating to the United Way, ” said Posawdowski.

As for Sparky, he says “Woof! – We’re all in this together!”

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