John Gignac Wins Jim Copeland Award from OMFPOA

Posted on 20.07.2021 in the General category

John Gignac, Executive Director at the Hawkin-Gignac Foundation for CO Education was recently nominated for and subsequently has won the Jim Copeland Award from the Ontario Municipal Fire Preventions Officers Association (OMFPOA).

This award recognizes the significant contributions made by a citizen or group to the prevention of fire and the public education of life safety in the community. The nominee must be able to

demonstrate support of fire prevention activities and the promotion of fire and life safety in the community. The award has been handed out in Ontario, since 2001.

“I’m honoured to be recognized for such an esteemed award. But what I am more proud of is that this acknowledgment shows that the issues of carbon monoxide education and awareness are becoming more center stage,” says John Gignac. “It has been the goal of our Foundation to elevate CO safety and prevention efforts to the same level as fire prevention and education. I believe they need to work hand-in-hand all year long given how important both issue are,” he adds.

In 2008 John Gignac’s niece OPP Safety Officer Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and two children Casandra and Jordan, were killed by carbon monoxide, in Woodstock, Ontario.  In response Mr. Gignac, a veteran Fire Captain, founded the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education to warn all Canadians about the dangers of ‘the Silent Killer’. Since that time, John has been working tirelessly across Ontario and Canada, with the fire service, other partners and alone, to generate awareness and help save lives needlessly lost to a preventable problem.

Mr. Gignac was nominated by Jeff Balkwill, Fire Prevention Office at the County of Brant Fire Department. “John’s family went through a horrible tragedy and it is inspiring to see how he has taken that awful event and done his best to bring positivity out of it,” says Balkwill. “After all of his hard work over the past decade and all the lives he has surely saved with the efforts of his Foundation, we felt it was necessary to recognize John for his outstanding contribution to CO safety in Brant county, and across Ontario,” he adds.


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