Every year, FSWO reaches out to its membership to come forward with nominations of individuals exemplify outstanding and exceptional abilities, performance and leadership that help make a difference in the fire service and the community it serves. What is special about this year’s award for Fire Service Women Ontario, is recognizing the positive influence that FSWO has made in the past decade not only with women who work in fire service occupations in Ontario, but to those who also work across Canada and elsewhere.
The winner of this year’s 3”E” Award is Captain Mary Fischer of the Calgary Fire Department, a 17 year career firefighter whose outstanding effort, exemplary action and extraordinary commitment has helped to encourage, educate and empower both men and women to consider a career and be the best that they can be in the fire service field.
Captain Fischer has continually demonstrated behavior both on and off the job that promotes and recognizes the values associated with pride, honour and integrity. In particular, Captain Fischer has shown phenomenal leadership in guiding, mentoring and developing females in Calgary’s Fire Service and is recognized as an outstanding leader and an excellent role model in her department and in the community. In this regard, Captain Mary Fisher was also the recent recipient of the “Unsung Heroes Award” which was given by the Universal Women’s Network-who identified Mary as a Women of Inspiration, a trailblazer in a traditionally-male dominated industry who has served on countless committees dedicated to mental health resilience, peer support, employee recruitment, performance and training. Mary is well known for her direct and honest way of communicating the challenges that firefighting can present to women while showing how they can be overcome and addressed while contributing to making the fire service better.
In the submission that recommended Mary for this award, her nominee stated the following, “ I had the great fortune to get to know Mary as mentor over the years and as new challenges presented themselves, I would stop to ask myself, "what would Mary do?” I have always grown in the light she shines down on her crews, friends and co-workers. Mary is the glue. She brings people together, she is selfless in her availability to others, kind with her words, and fierce with determination. She brings people together, and is constantly teaching us with her leadership consciously or not. Her wit and humor make her a favorite in any fire hall. She is adored by the public, incredibly poised and professional, physically dominating, and kind hearted. Mary is often the first to offer her time talking to new recruit classes, volunteer with the CISM team, join work groups to improve various programs within the department, fight for better working conditions and mental health initiatives and volunteer endlessly for others in need. Her will to see everyone succeed around her speaks to her selflessness as well as her pure heart. She is the safe place in the storm, and the sun that follows afterwards.”
Captain Fisher’s ability to educate, encourage and empower both women and men has helped to foster positive change in the fire service and makes her a worthy and deserving recipient of the FSWO 3 “E” Award.
Nominator: Sr. Firefighter Adrienne Wolf, Calgary Fire Department