Strong show­ing for fire­fight­ers’ ball

Car­bon­ear fire depart­ment holds an­nual din­ner and dance for 200

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

“An or­ga­ni­za­tion is only as good as it’s peo­ple, which is so true of our Car­bon­ear vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.” — Sam Slade

The sound of a small, brass fire bell opens the Car­bon­ear fire­fighter’s ball Oct. 12 at the Knights of Colum­bus on Ade­laide Street.

The bell has been a tra­di­tion within the fire depart­ment since it be­gan 172 years ago. It would ring to in­form the town the fire­fight­ers were an­swer­ing a call.

This year the bell was rung to no­tify some 200 guests that the 42nd an­nual ball was com­menc­ing.

Hon­orary fire­fighter Mil­ton Peach opened the event with a dis­cus­sion of the bell and its ori­gins.

Fire­fighter Steve Bar­rett took the bell’s cord and tapped it lightly — one, two, three. Af­ter a mo­ment he re­peated the mo­tion — one, two, three. And then again for a third and fi­nal time — one, two, three.

The room was silent while all lis­tened care­fully to one of the most prom­i­nent pieces of his­tory in fire­fight­ing.

Many sup­port­ers

Sev­eral fire­fight­ers from sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties at­tended the event. As did five town coun­cil­lors.

In fact, most fire­fight­ers in at­ten­dance had a large group of fam­ily and friends by their side.

“I’ve spo­ken to a num­ber of fire­fighter din- ners across the prov­ince,” guest speaker and mayor of Mount Pearl Randy Simms told the au­di­ence. “But I have to tell you, this is one of the largest I’ve seen. You guys re­ally show up to sup­port your fire depart­ment.”

The event fell on the last day of fire preven­tion week, a week ded­i­cated to ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic on fire safety.

“Hun­dreds of chil­dren and their fam­i­lies came out for fire preven­tion week to take a ride on the fire trucks,” Car­bon­ear Mayor Sam Slade said. “And the depart­ment or­ga­nizes the an­nual Santa Claus pa­rade where hun­dreds of loot bags are pre­pared for chil­dren.”

Slade is a proud hon­ourary fire­fighter, and spoke of how many lives each mem­ber touches just by vol­un­teer­ing their time.

“Coun­cil’s re­sourses are not un­lim­ited,” he con­tin­ued. “This coun­cil and coun­cils in the past have al­ways tried to pro­vide them with the nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties and equip­ment to pro­vide fire pro­tec­tion.”

Speaker grabs at­ten­tion

One of the evening’s events was a pow­er­ful and in­for­ma­tive ad­dress by guest speaker Randy Simms.

“The com­mit­ment of pro­vin­cial money to fire de­part­ments has dropped in re­cent years and the level of com­mu­nity sup­port avail­able through fundrais­ing or mu­nic­i­pal grants is also strained,” Simms ex­plained. “The en­tire busi­ness model for vol­un­teer fire­fight­ing ser­vices is un­der pres­sure.”

Many nod­ded as Simms de­scribed how vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers in ru­ral ar­eas put their lives at risk, while oth­ers in large cities get paid and earn pen­sions to sup­port them and their fam­i­lies. He also noted the amount of train­ing is equiv­a­lent to those in paid po­si­tions.

“Peo­ple who are pre­pared to risk their lives for oth­ers have to be at the top of their game, and when you do it for noth­ing more than a tax credit and a thank you on oc­ca­sion, keep­ing peo­ple in­volved re­ally be­comes a chal­lenge.”

Last year the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing a provincewide 9-1-1 emer­gency phone ser­vice in 2014.

With only three ar­eas of the prov­ince cur­rently on a 9-1-1 sys­tem — North­east Avalon, Cor­ner Brook and Labrador West — the change is go­ing to im­pact Con­cep­tion Bay North and Trin­ity Bay, the re­gions that work to­gether on fire, am­bu­lance and po­lice calls.

The uni­ver­sal ser­vice will also cost home and cell­phone own­ers a fee — Simms be­lieves is less than a dol­lar — per month.

Recog­ni­tion awards

This year, eight fire­fight­ers re­ceived awards for their years of ded­i­ca­tion to the depart­ment.

Those with the long­est terms are Fire Chief Ed Ka­vanagh and Coun. Frank Butt, both with 25 years. The oth­ers are Glenn Trick­ett (20 years), hon­orary mem­ber Ned Mercer (15 years), hon­orary mem­ber Keith Thomas (15 years), Alvin Ware­ham (15 years), Neil Mur­phy (10 years) and Scott Mullins (10 years).

Glenn Trick­ett was also awarded the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral awards for 20 years of ser­vice.

Kris­tian Butt, daugh­ter of Frank and Karen Butt, was the re­cip­i­ent of the Fred Chubbs me­mo­rial schol­ar­ship, an award given to a Grade 12 stu­dent with the high­est aca­demic av­er­age. Her fa­ther pre­sented the award.

The sec­ond award was the LFC Clif­ford Pike schol­ar­ship, given to the stu­dent with the high­est av­er­age in Grade 12 lit­er­a­ture. The re­cip­i­ent was Bran­don Mullins, son of Scott and Kelly Mullins. Scott is a fire­fighter.

Al­though not an award re­cip­i­ent, Tom Quinn was ac­knowl­edged for his ded­i­ca­tion to the force in the 1960s and 70s.

A for­mer fire chief, Quinn re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant burns on his face when at­tend­ing train­ing in St. John’s in 1972.

“It was a flash fire,” Quinn said. “I was

lucky, but I couldn’t wash my face for a week.”

Say­ing thank you

Once the cer­e­mony and din­ner were over, voices echoed through the hall, most say­ing thank you and pro­claim­ing their sup­port.

“Vol­un­teerism is all about car­ing for the com­mu­nity,” Simms said. “And I know of no other group who re­flects that ideal more suc­cinctly than our vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.”

Slade was proud to say the depart­ment is a great at­tribute to the town.

“An or­ga­ni­za­tion is only as good as its peo­ple, which is so true of our Car­bon­ear vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.”

To con­clude, the group cel­e­brated a year with­out fa­tal­i­ties and fire­fighter in­juries.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

The Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment held its an­nual fire­fight­ers ball Oct. 12. Mem­bers of the depart­ment, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, are, (ac­tive mem­bers) — Brian Green, Fred Bald­win, Chris Dow­den, Don Earl, Richard Ros­siter, Den­nis Ash Jr., Frank Butt, Jeff Squibb, Claude Gar­land, Tom Craw­ford, Scott Mullins, Michael King, Kerry Noel, Frank Pike Jr., Chris Rodgers, Glenn Trick­ett, Neil Mur­phy, Matt Ware­ham, Ja­son Ho­gan, Nick Ros­siter, Derek Ash, John Craw­ford, Greg King, Alvin Ware­ham, Ken­neth Thomas, Dar­ren Hedd, Ron Gar­land, Ja­son Fa­hey and Trevor Snow; (as­so­ci­ate mem­bers) — Steve Bur­den, Brad Simms, Ge­off Moore, Gord Ash, Jerome Mur­phy, Scott Burr and Colin Clarke; (hon­ourary mem­bers) — Art Thomas, Heber McGurk, Tom Quinn, Mor­ley Col­bourne, Lewis Squibb, Randy Butt, Fred Earle Jr., Scott Thomas, Ge­orge Power, Char­lie Framp­ton, Paul Finn, Melvin Gar­land, Ce­cil Oates, Mil­ton Peach, Ned Mercer, Ge­orge W. Earle, Jerry Wrice, Wil­lis Spurrell, Ray Noel, Wal­lace Maid­ment, Lewis Shep­pard, Roy Saun­ders, Am­brose Janes, Frank Pike Sr., Sam Slade, John Comer­ford, Tom Yet­man, Clay Oates, Bevin Butt, Keith Thomas, Her­man Wal­ters, Roy Moores, Paul McGurk, Jim Walsh, Rudy Gar­land, Leslie Pennedy, Ce­cil Reid Jr., John LeGrow, Ge­orge W Janes, Wade Spurrell, By­ron Power, Den­nis Mar­shall and Lester Simms.

Re­cent high school grad­u­ate Kris­tian Butt (left) re­ceives the Fred Chubbs Me­mo­rial Schol­ar­ship for the Grade 12 stu­dent with the hgh­est over­all ace­demic av­er­age from her fa­ther, 25-year fire­fighter Frank Butt.

Bran­don Mullins was awarded the LFC Clif­ford Pike schol­ar­ship for the high­est av­er­age in Grade 12 lit­er­a­ture. He re­ceived the award from his fa­ther, 10-year fire­fighter Scott Mullins.

Hon­orary fire­fighter Mil­ton Peach ad­dresses the crowd at the 42nd an­nual fire­fight­ers ball in Car­bon­ear as the em­cee.

Car­bon­ear Fire Chief Ed Ka­vanagh (left) stops to chat with for­mer chief Tom Quinn. Quinn was burned in 1972 dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise in St. John’s.

Glenn Tricket (left) was the re­cip­i­ent of three pres­ti­gious awards dur­ing the cer­e­mony. He re­ceived three mile­stone recog­ni­tion awards for 20 years from the depart­ment, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Car­bon­ear Mayor Sam Slade pre­sented Trick­ett with the fed­eral award.

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