Tip of the fire helmet: Kip Cosgrove
His support of the Canadian fire service has improved fire departments and firefighting in immeasurable ways
By Dennis Rubin
There are many heroes in the fire-rescue service. These community protectors come in all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, they live in and provide pubic safety coverage for every town and city.
These outstanding men and women put their lives on the line every day for people that they don't know. They will likely never meet these people except to help them in their hour of need. And the local life savers will never be thanked or repaid for their bravery.
With the mere mention of the highest and finest traditions of the fire department, these domestic defenders stand a little taller and smile wide without every asking for any credit for their selfless sacrifices for the general good.
There is one person, however, that has had the firefighter's back covered since May 1992. Kip Cosgrove of VFIS of Canada has been the hero behind Canada fire service heroes.
Although he is not a uniformed firefighter, Cosgrove is a well-known and well-respected part of the Canadian fire service. VFIS opened its doors, making Toronto its headquarters in November of 1991.
Making a difference
Once Cosgrove's business was anchored in Canada, he helped sponsor the Ontario Association of Fire Chief's conference less than one year after being established. Ever since that event, Cosgrove knew that he wanted to continue to pay it forward and support every aspect of the fire service that he could. In nearly 24 years, Cosgrove and VFIS of Canada have provided over $500,000 of support to the fire service members.
The list of activities that Cosgrove and VFIS have been a part of is impressive and significant. From conferences to seminars to driver training programs to fundraising auction and events, he is always there when asked to help.
It is impossible to measure the positive impact Cosgrove has had on Canadian fire departments and their communities. However, it is reasonable to project that dozens of firefighters have been spared injury or worse fates because of his support.
Among the great instructors who VFIS has funded include Chief Alan Brunacini, Chief Billy Goldfeder, Chief Dan Gardiner and Commander Gordon Graham to name a few. These outstanding fire educators along with many other presenters have shaped a focused message regarding the passion for the safety of our firefighters and civilians.
Humbled to help
Without looking for as much as a "thank you," Cosgrove quietly continues to be a major part of many events that are designed to help all firefighters.
"I have been blessed and at the same time humbled by the success of our Canadian insurance office," Cosgrove said. "This success has allowed me to be involved with the day-to-day activities of the Canadian fire service on many levels. I am very impressed with the dedication and commitment of all of those who participate in our fire-rescue services."
The Canadian fire service members are bright, prepared mentally and physically and are dedicated to getting the job done. I have made the trip north dozens of times am always impressed with every aspect of the fire-rescue service.
So here is a tip of the old helmet to Kip Cosgrove of VFIS and all of the great agencies that are always willing to help firefighters by making the job safer and helping us to protect civilians from all types of harm.
Until next time, please be safe out there.