The Grand Bank Fire Department celebrated 66 years of service to the community during its annual Firefighter’s Ball Oct. 29.
Greetings were brought from local politicians including Mayor Darrell Lafosse. He welcomed back Fire Chief Barry Francis from his absence, due to illness.
“It takes a special person to be a firefighter.”
He also extended a thank you to Grand Bank MHA Darin King for his hard work on behalf of all the Burin Peninsula fire departments.
In his annual report, Fire Chief Barry Francis thanked the executive for its hard work and dedication.
“It takes a special person to be an officer on the fire department. I don’t think there is a better bunch of firefighters in this province,” referring to his department members.
Chief Francis expressed his department’s appreciation for the support offered by town council as well as the provincial government through the efforts of MHA Darin King.
In noting a $10,000 donation received from Clearwater, the Chief said, “I don’t think we have ever received such a large donation before.”
During the past year the department had 17 calls of which seven were structure fires, a large number for the town.
Guest speaker was Duane Antle, a director with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services. Mr. Antle emphasized the importance of training for firefighters and the outstanding service they give to their communities throughout the province.
Lengthy service certificates were awarded to Dorman Scott (20 years); Mike Kelland, Alex Hatcher, Tony Snook and Barry Francis (10 years) and Jamie Follett and Derek Strowbridge (five years.
Firefighter Justin Bolt, a member of the department’s Muscular Dystrophy Committee, presented an $800 cheque to Fire Chief Francis. This will be forwarded to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, supported by firefighters over four decades.
Capt. Bob Dolimount is the Training Officer for the department. He presented training certificates to firefighters Justin Bolt, Dean Thornhill, Corey Snook, Derrick Dunne, Garry Hillier and Todd Bursey. Capt. Dolimount also received a similar certificate.
The fire department used the banquet to thank various town groups and individuals for their assistance during the past year. These included Clearwater Fine Foods for its donation, the Sea Cat Dive Club, Fortune Fire Department, the Grand Bank Lions Club, Stan Osmond and Judy Parsons.
Mr. King’s assistant Corey Parsons represented the MHA, who was busy learning the ropes of his new portfolio as Minister of Fisheries. He congratulated the fire department on its 66 years of service relaying Mr. King’s belief “their efforts are appreciated by the provincial government and the residents” of the area.
In MP Judy Foote’s absence attending Burin Fire Department’s 50th anniversary the same night, her assistant Eric George brought congratulations.
BY HEATHER BURLINGHAM
The Southern Gazette