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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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Not Enough Time – The Tragedy of Tim DesGrosseilliers

“Tim was 12 years older than me, but we were very close. We talked
almost every day, and I would absolutely say he was my best friend.
His loss is still devastating to me and I miss his support.”
– Michelle Fitch, Tim’s sister

On Sept. 8, 2017, Tim DesGrosseilliers, an elevator mechanic, was killed after being crushed by a piece of falling equipment while working in an elevator shaft at the University of Toronto. He was 52.

Michelle Fitch with her daughter and a photo of Tim at a Steps for Life Walk

Let us tell you about Tim

Tim DesGrosseilliers had a lifelong love of cars. At any given time, he owned many classic cars. He especially loved Pontiacs and Dodges.

In the winter, Tim loved snowmobiling and spent as much time as possible riding the trails.

Kind and generous with his time and support, Tim would drive hours, in the middle of the night, to lend a supportive hand if someone needed him.

At the time of his death, he was sharing a house with his aging father, helping him financially and with household and yard tasks, so his dad could maintain his independence.

Tim had a wonderful sense of humour that many around him enjoyed. Although he never had any children of his own, Tim loved kids and spent much time with his nieces and nephews. One of his endearing qualities was he seemed like a kid who had never fully grown up. He embraced life like he did in his youth and even had a drawer in his bedroom filled with nothing but candy.

Tim entertaining his niece and nephew

What Happened?

On the day Tim was killed, he was rushed in the job he was doing. He had a fast-approaching deadline and in haste, he made a decision to use nylon straps to rig and hoist a load, rather than chains, which were not readily available.

A catastrophic oversight on his part was that the load had multiple sharp “pinch points”, which ultimately cut through the nylon straps. The load fell onto Tim, who was standing underneath it in the elevator shaft.

Tim died on the scene and his apprentice was injured. In a cruel irony, he wasn’t even supposed to go to work that day but the company needed him.

What Went Wrong?

#1. Tim had been given a very small window of time to do a dangerous hoist. Being hurried affected his decision-making. 

#2. Opting to use nylon straps rather than chains was a tragic decision, but the chains weren’t readily available.

#3. He was operating blind with the crane, acting as a rigger, and with no signal operator.

All of these factors contributed to a workplace fatality…the end of Tim’s life.

However, leading up to this last day of Tim’s life, he had made multiple complaints regarding safety issues on the job site. His concerns were ignored.

Tim’s death, and the resulting inquest, led to 15 recommendations for changes or improvements in the industry.

Tim and his sister, Michelle, share a laugh

Hope for Safer Workplaces

Tim’s family was deeply affected by his preventable death. His sister, Michelle Fitch has a message for all workers:

“Never do a job if you question its safety. It is your right to a safe work environment.
There are laws to protect workers, and if you ever doubt that those laws will save your job, the alternative is so much worse. The people left behind never stop looking for you, never stop hoping it was just a terrible dream.”

Since 2000, more than 20,000 Canadians have died as a result of their work – either from an occupational illness or injuries sustained on the job.

Is this the legacy we want to be building?

Please watch this short video (3 min) about some of the faces behind the stats.

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break-and-enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below, and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why and how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit

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Call FORE Volunteers in Calgary on Aug 17th!

We shall never forget our fallen.

Calgary Volunteers Needed for Annual Golf Tourney

The Calgary Police Association’s 2023 Andrew Harnett  Memorial Golf Tournament is coming up & the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) is looking for a few volunteers to chip in…selling raffle tickets to golfers.

Proceeds from raffle tickets sales are kindly donated to the JPMF.

Here are the tournament deets:

When: Thursday August 17th, 2023

Where: Heritage Pointe Golf Course (DeWinton)                       

Shifts: The morning shift runs from 7 am until 1 pm and the afternoon shift starts at noon and ends around 6 pm.

Duties: Volunteers will set up off the greens of par 3 holes, where they will watch for hole-in-ones (big prizes are up for grabs for any golfer who makes a hole-in-one). Volunteers will also sell raffle tickets and 50/50 tickets to golfers.

Contact: If you’d like to help out, please e-mail Harleigh at 

Other details: Dress for this event is casual and volunteers are asked to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions: please bring a hat, sunscreen, water bottle, bug spray and a foldable chair.

Thanks so much!

About Const. John Petropoulos

Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos died on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm. He was 32.

The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund was started shortly after John’s death by members of his recruit class. The JPMF is a Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why & how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders.

About Sgt Andrew Harnett

Calgary Police Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, was killed in the line of duty on New Years Eve 2020.

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Electricity Kills

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

– Jane Goodall

Electricity kills.

But younger workers may not always be aware of the dangers of working around electricity. And their employers may not care enough to train them properly & make their safety a top priority.

Please take 2 minutes and watch this powerful new safety video about the tragic — and easily preventable — deaths of Tim Hamilton, 19, and Jeremy Bowley, 21. They died fourteen years apart while working at their respective summer jobs…due to the EXACT same circumstances.

This is unacceptable. And yet it happened.

If you are on social media, or have a young worker in your life, please share this video. Thank you.

To view more workplace safety videos, please visit/subscribe to the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund YouTube channel.

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New JPMF Website!

Welcome to the brand spankin’ new JPMF website!

Hope you’ll take a look around

A huge thank you to Neil Gilbert of ElbowRoom Design for creating our new site.

About the JPMF

The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund was started in 2000, after the on-duty death of Calgary Police Const. John Petropoulos. Learn more.

What we do

We raise public awareness about why & how people can make their workplaces – and the roads – safer for all workers, including first responders. Learn more.

View & share our safety resources

If you are on the lookout for workplace safety educational resources, we have plenty!

We have over 40 safety videos on our YouTube channel.

We have dozens of shareable safety images/graphics for you to choose from.

Thank you

Take care, stay safe & thanks for viewing & sharing our resources. You just never know who might need to see an important safety reminder right about…now.

Because workplace safety matters…very much.