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The Compass - - NEWS -

Bar­bara Hickey (left) and John Hickey (in wheel­chair) pre­sented a wreath for their brother Al­bert Hickey Jr. who died in 1973 from a 60 foot fall from in­ad­e­quate scaf­fold­ing. Neigh­bour Jim Brown was also on hand. Terri-Lynn Hoskins pre­sents flow­ers in mem­ory of her fa­ther, Terry, who was killed in a workplace ac­ci­dent in 2003.

While many other fire de­part­ments in the re­gion have been los­ing mem­bers, a bri­gade in Trin­ity Bay has not.

Chief Aaron Hil­lier of the Green’s Har­bourHo­peall Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment said they have one new mem­ber this year, Anthony Cumby. The re­main­ing 15 were on the ros­ter last year. No one has re­signed.

The gain was small, but with big­ger, in­cor­po­rated mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties like Car­bon­ear los­ing mem­bers, the depart­ment is pleased with its growth.

“We haven’t lost any­one,” ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Mark Ware­ham told The Com­pass dur­ing din­ner at the depart­ment’s an­nual so­cial event April 26.

Ware­ham’s wife Feli­cia, brother Justin and sis­ter-in-law Krista are also in the depart­ment.

Al­though Hil­lier con­sid­ers steady par­tic­i­pa­tion a pos­i­tive thing, what he would like to see are more people join­ing, es­pe­cially younger res­i­dents.

“We are like a big fam­ily,” he ex­plained. “We’d like to see some new mem­bers and hope to get people in­ter­ested.

“We have a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship with (neigh­bour­ing de­part­ments) Trin­ity South Cen­tral and Sea­side. But we’d like to (hear from those people) who want to be a part of our depart­ment.”

Be­sides the re­la­tion­ships that have formed be­tween mem­bers and de­part­ments, there is an­other ben­e­fit to join­ing the group. The depart­ment has re­cently ac­quired a new in­sur­ance pol­icy for its mem­bers.

“We have new life, disability and ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance,” Hil­lier said.

Suc­cess­ful event The event didn’t just cel­e­brate the close­ness of the depart­ment’s mem­bers. It showed how the group was the pride of the com­mu­nity.

Some 100 people turned out at the Green’s Har­bour com­mu­nity cen­tre to cel­e­brate the depart­ment, and take part in the din­ner and dance. Most of those in at­ten­dance were lo­cals, as well as for­mer fire­fight­ers show­ing con­tin­ued sup­port for the group.

There were eight chairs per ta­ble, but people min­gled around the room be­fore pick­ing a seat. They told sto­ries of the times the depart­ment helped res­i­dents with chim­ney fires and car ac­ci­dents, but also of the ded­i­ca­tion each mem­ber had for the com­mu­nity.

Chat­ter could be heard across the hall while wait­ing for the meal to be served. At­ten­dees em­braced, shook hands and laughed to­gether.

When ev­ery­body took a seat, a meal of roast beef, turnip, pota­toes and car­rots was served. It has been tra­di­tion for sev­eral years for Hil­lier to help out with the meal. This year, like last, he gave a hand peel­ing pota­toes the night be­fore.

One mem­ber’s recog­ni­tion There were two awards given out this year: the 30-year ser­vice award (two re­cip­i­ents) and the fire­fighter of the year award.

Last year’s win­ner of the fire­fighter of the year award in­tro­duced the new­est re­cip­i­ent with hu­mour.

Shane Green told the au­di­ence he would have won for the sec­ond year in a row, but the pub­lic­ity and au­to­graphs have been too much. Keith March wears his home­made 30-year ser­vice medal proudly dur­ing the Green’s Har­bour-Ho­peall Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment’s an­nual so­cial. Keith March, the ac­tual win­ner, smiled as he walked on stage to ac­cept the hon­our. He also re­ceived the 30-year award. Stan Piercey was the other mem­ber to re­ceive it, but was un­able to at­tend.

March al­most didn’t make it ei­ther. The long-term mem­ber had been fight­ing the chick­en­pox virus, but he was well enough to at­tend.

Green and Hil­lier both joked about the le­sions that were still vis­i­ble on his head. But he laughed it off, and ac­cepted his awards with pride.

Hiller ex­plained the 30-year ser­vice medals from the provin­cial and federal gov­ern­ments had not ar­rived yet, but he had an al­ter­na­tive. March stood back on to the crowd, while Hil­lier pinned a “medal” on him.

With a laugh, March turned around to re­veal an or­ange cir­cu­lar piece of paper pinned to his uni­form that read, “30 years.”

Suc­cess­ful year Over the past year, the mem­bers re­sponded to five chim­ney fires and two car ac­ci­dents.

Hil­lier thanked ev­ery­one in the com­mu­ni­ties for be­ing fire safe, and keep­ing the num­ber of in­ci­dents down.

The group has also pur­chased two new breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tuses to re­place ones that were taken out of com­mis­sion.

Hil­lier also thanked Donna Shep­pard, a woman from the area, for help­ing the depart­ment with com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The new pager sys­tem im­ple­mented early last year could not reach ev­ery mem­ber be­cause of re­cep­tion is­sues from one side of town to the next. Shep­pard al­lowed the group to in­stall a re­peater, which boosts the sig­nal, al­low­ing all mem­bers to re­ceive pages. She did so with­out ask­ing for any­thing in re­turn.

“Her house is in a prime spot,” Hil­lier said. “We are happy she al­lowed us to in­stall the re­peater there.”

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