The first thing they saw was all the Honour Guard members, and then the hundreds and hundreds of CFD members in Number One uniform, saluting Ryan’s casket. Just the emotional outpour, it made the hair on your neck stand.
Every Honour Guard member will experience a moment which leaves a deep emotional memory. For firefighter Shawn Butler, this took place at the funeral of Calgary firefighter and colleague, Ryan Bjolverud.
The sight of hundreds of CFD members, organised and led by the Honour Guard, paying their respects to Ryan left a lasting mark on Shawn. The love and emotion shown to their fallen colleague embodies everything that the Guard stands for: unity, respect, and remembrance. The sense of community and association helps us to realise just what it means to be a firefighter, and the shared appreciation for what the job involves.
The Challenge Coin is a reminder of the unity of the profession. Every firefighter receives a coin, and it should remain on their person at all times. For Shawn, the coin is a symbol of the firefighting community, and a reminder of the sacrifices and struggles endured by colleagues across the world.