2017 Markham Honouree
Leo Olivera officially started with the Markham Fire Department on October 24, 2011. Previously, he was a volunteer firefighter for two years, and during this time he participated in one of the "Shave Your Head for Cancer" campaigns. Through friends and coworkers he was able to raise $1,500. What made the event most memorable was having this done in front of his kids as they laughed; and the look of excitement on the face of the local school boy that actually performed the deed was priceless. With the support of the fire department, the community, and the kids; being part of something extraordinary like this was a catalyst to make Leo want to do more.
Leo is driven to set an example for his daughter, Lauryn, and son, Ethan. It is his hope that they understand there are many ways to give back to the community, whether it is our time or donations. It's as easy as just getting involved. By helping others, we can make a difference, and that’s the important thing to remember.
In Leo’s words, his nomination has been humbling and an honour. It was a wonderful surprise that someone had taken time to notice and acknowledge his efforts, but he is quick to add that he wouldn't be able to do what he does without the help, involvement, and support of fellow firefighters. Markham Professional Firefighters Association, Markham Fire and Emergency Services, and many others have made the numerous charity-focused events possible, and Leo considers himself fortunate to be in a position to help and organize others to do likewise.
Eventually everyone is affected personally by a friend or family member’s struggle. In order to get others involved in their community, Leo sincerely believes it is important to encourage people to simply pick a charity or event they can connect with. Participate in just one event each year, whether it's at work and with coworkers, or within the community; and engage your friends and family.
Leo hopes to ultimately work together with other fire departments within York Region, because working together makes us even more successful. Time constraints do change every year with growing families and personal commitments, so choosing specific events or projects can be challenging. However, in the future, Leo hopes to get more involved with the Markham Stouffville Hospital, as this community hospital helps everyone.