Maryanne receives Community Gold Award

Hallo! We hope this note finds you safe, happy & healthy!

On Sept 26th, 2023, I (Maryanne Pope, John’s widow) was very honoured to receive the Community Leader Award (Gold) from OHS Canada magazine for my workplace safety efforts with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund over the years.

Although I couldn’t attend the award ceremony in Toronto, here is the short video I whipped up (1-min).

A legacy of love: Maryanne Pope turns tragedy into advocacy through JPMF

Community Leader Award

Gold: Maryanne Pope, John Petropoulos Memorial Fund
Silver: Trina Hayden, Norcat
Silver: Tanya Kowalenko, FortisBC

On Sept. 29, 2000, Const. John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service was called to investigate a break-and-enter at a warehouse.

While on the mezzanine level, the four-year-veteran stepped onto what he believed was a study floor — but it was a false ceiling. He fell nine feet into the lunchroom below, landing on a chair and striking his head.

Petropoulos was 32. His wife, Maryanne Pope, was also 32. They had been together for 12 years, and married for four.

“I was beyond devastated, I suppose just shattered,” said Pope. “You know, we were just like a normal couple one day and then I’m holding his hand in the ICU as he dies of a brain injury.”

She didn’t know what to do next, and his colleagues were at a loss. Shortly after, one of his police recruit classmates reached out to Pope with an idea. They were going to create a pen, with his regimental number, and sell them to police officers, family and friends to raise money.

“They raised about $10,000. And they said, ‘When you’re in some sort of semblance of shape emotionally and mentally, and you feel like you can handle this, let’s get together and meet and we’ll decide what to do with the money,’” she said.

That led to the launch of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF). This year, Pope was named winner of the 2023 Community Leader Award as part of OHS Honours for her incredible work and that of the foundation in his name.

Originally, JPMF focused on the question: “How safe is your workplace for emergency responders?” With increasing activities in construction sites and other high-risk areas, the foundation initially aimed to address safety issues faced by paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. However, workplace safety statistics prompted the organization to broaden its scope.

“We wanted to raise public education and teach the public how to think about workplace safety from the perspective of first responders who might be in their premise and not familiar with the surroundings,” said Pope.

She said it’s “incredible” to see the light bulb go off when someone hears what happened to her husband and other first responders…

Read full article in OHS Canada magazine.

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