For 12th year fire departments meet as one
-by Rankin MacDonald
Master of Ceremonies Michael Hatt presents Constable Deepak Prasad with a t-shirt.
For the past 12 years, the West Bay Road, Port Hastings and Port Hawkesbury Fire Departments have jointly held their installation of officers banquet at one of the three fire stations.
This year, on the 50th anniversary of the Port Hastings Volunteer Fire Department, it was held at the Port Hastings Fire Station on Saturday night.
The master of ceremonies for the event was fire fighter Michael Hatt.
Port Hastings Fire Chief Ian MacKinnon asked that a moment of silence be observed for deceased firefighters, and his wife, Jane, said Grace.
Representing the RCMP, Constable Deepak Prasad called the fire fighters “pillars of the community” saying that the RCMP enjoy great cooperation with all three fire departments.
“I want to thank you guys for being awesome out there,” he said.
The fire fighters presented him with a T-shirt which read, “God created firemen so even cops could have heros.”
MLA Michel Samson brought greetings from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and said that they value the fire fighters’ role in the province and at the Strait. He hopes governments continue to provide funding for the fire departments.
He said they have been listening to the chiefs as to how they can help with recruitment, but he was heartened to see such a mix of experienced and young members in all three departments.
Samson said the Liberal party has been discussing training for fire fighters in rural areas; with only one school there should be more avenues for training.
He commended them for the work they do and thanked the volunteers for providing a strong fire service to the Strait communities.
Port Hawkesbury Deputy Mayor Brenda Chisholm Beaton praised the fire fighters for their dedication to the fire service while holding down their jobs and putting the service before family functions.
“You are a special kind of person,” she said. “There are highs and lows, but the benefits must be worth the cost.”
She said fire fighters become like family, and we can do something to help the family members.
Beaton suggested we get to know them, say thank you more often, learn about fire and accident prevention, support fund-raisers, volunteer with the departments and be an advocate of the fire departments.
“We live in safer places because you volunteer,” she said.
The Deputy Warden for Inverness County, Dwayne MacDonald, thanked the fire fighters for saving his home from a flue fire last year.
“They are the super heros,” he said.
He thanked them on behalf of his family and all the families in their communities.
They sang happy birthday to Curtis Doucet.
West Bay Road Fire Chief Bobby MacEachern presented long service pins including a five year pin to Ronald Smith, ten-year pins to Rob Smith and Paul Macdonald, 15-year pins to Cathy MacKinnon and Dale Burton and a 20-year pin to Carol Ann MacInnis.
The Fire Fighter of the Year for West Bay Road is Joel MacDonald.
West Bay Road Fire Department Auxiliary President Alice MacDonald presented a 10-year pin to Michelle Leopold and a 15-year pin to Donelda Rooyakkers. Their Volunteer of the Year is Irene MacDonald.
Port Hawkesbury Fire Chief Dale Sellers presented a five year pin to Kevin Beaton; 20-year pins to Paul Kehoe and Robert Cass; a 25-year pin to Sandy MacDonald; a 30-year pin to Hayward Hollet and a 45-year pin to George Misner.
Their Fire Fighter of the Year is Ronnie Organ.
Port Hastings Fire Chief Ian MacKinnon presented 15-year pins to James MacKinnon, Ashley Fox and Carolena MacPherson; a 25-year pin to Bernie Wood and a 45-year pin to Lew Smith.
Their Fire Fighter of the Year is Andrew MacInnis.
Fire Chief MacKinnon praised all those who “got us going” 50 years ago in 1963.
Dorothy Fox-MacLean presented MacKinnon with a cheque for $3,000 from the auxiliary.
Deputy Warden Dwayne MacDonald and Deputy Mayor Brenda Chisholm Beaton conducted the swearing-in ceremonies.
Chief MacKinnon thanked all the departments for a wonderful evening.
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