Prints for first responders

We are deeply grateful to all the first responders and logistics personnel who contributed on the ground during the Fort McMurray Fire of 2016. Thanks to the generosity of five individuals: Stacey James, Adeen Bunning, Kevin Shulko, Tilly Fayad, and Paula MacLean; we are able to offer a 16″ x 20″ commemorative print of the portrait of Fire Chief Darby Allen that was painted by evacuee and artist Russell Thomas to first responders who participated in the epic fight to save life and property.

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“Almost immediately, we started getting questions from first responders who had worked on the fire wanting to get their hands on a copy of the print,” said artist Russell Thomas (also an evacuee and Director of Communications and Community Impact with The United Way of Fort McMurray).  “It just didn’t feel right to ask them to contribute financially (to when they had already given so much.  We put out the call to see who might be able to help.  Five long-term employees of NorthStar Ford stepped forward personally, to cover the costs of making prints available to first responders.”

In order to get this print to first responders who worked the #ymmfire event, an online form as been set-up to gather the necessary information.


As there is a limited budget, we are asking first responders in the Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo area to allow us to hand deliver their prints to their fire hall, detachment or workplace when we are allowed re-entry.  For anyone who contributed from other jurisdictions, we will happily arrange shipping their home location.

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of men and women who helped us get to safety,” said Diane Shannon, Executive Director, The United Way of Fort McMurray.  “The generosity of these five amazing individuals is amazing.  They are enabling us to share a commemorative print of a painting that represents the courage, dedication and heart of every person who fought this fire, or contributed on the ground in Fort McMurray.”

If demand from first responders outstrips the available budget, we will put out the call to get more supporters on board to try to make this happen.  If you want to contribute to this gesture of thanks, please contact Russell Thomas at He can also be reached at 780-881-3752.


Author: The United Way of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo | 780-791-0077 ext. 3015