Four decades of ser­vice with Glen Wal­ter’s FD

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

News Staff The per­son­al­ized li­cence plate on Gabe McEvoy’s GMC truck, cur­rently rest­ing in the drive­way of his Paragon Road home in South Glen­garry, reads G W F D.

Any­one who’s known Mr. McEvoy for even the briefest amount of time knows what those letters stand for – Glen Wal­ter Fire Depart­ment. Mr. McEvoy, who just turned 61, gave al­most 41 years to the lo­cal fire sta­tion. He says he re­tired only af­ter he ac­com­plished one of his big­gest goals, which was to “get a new fire sta­tion for my boys.”

Mr. McEvoy, who was Glen Wal­ter’s Fire Chief for two years and Deputy-Chief for 17, says he’d been push­ing South Glen­garry for a new fire sta­tion since the early part of the 21st Cen­tury. He re­mem­bers work­ing out of the old fire hall when he first joined the depart­ment in Septem­ber of 1975.

Mr. McEvoy says a lot has changed since his early days with the depart­ment. At one time, when an emer­gency call came in, the fire chiefs had to con­tact all their fire­fight­ers at home to let them know the address of the in­ci­dent. Then some­time in the 1990s, fire­fight­ers be­gan car­ry­ing pagers. That it­self was an ex­pen­sive en­deav­our but Mr. McEvoy worked with his team to help bring the tech­nol­ogy into Glen Wal­ter. He also helped ex­pand the old fire hall on County Road 2 a num­ber of times -once to ac­com­mo­date a tanker and an­other time to house res­cue ve­hi­cles. Even­tu­ally, he says the fire depart­ment sim­ply out­grew the build­ing and that’s when it be­came in­creas­ingly more ob­vi­ous that Glen Wal­ter, along with its bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tion, needed the new hall that’s cur­rently lo­cated just south of the Glen Wal­ter Park.

In ad­di­tion to push­ing for the new hall, Mr. McEvoy also helped up­grade the South Glen­garry Fire Depart­ment’s train­ing cen­tre on Air­port Road, raised funds to pur­chase vi­tal equip­ment like the Jaws of Life, and – dur­ing his ten­ure as Deputy-Chief – ar­ranged for the in­stal­la­tion of three dry hy­drants along County Road 2 – one at the Olco sta­tion, one at Rich­mond Road and an­other at Pilon’s Point.

He says these hy­drants al­low for the fire depart­ment to take water from the St. Lawrence River no mat­ter what the sea­son. Gone are the days when, dur­ing the Win­ter, fire­fight­ers had to pull por­ta­ble drillers onto the river’s frozen sur­face in or­der to pump water.

When asked why he joined the fire depart­ment in the first place, Mr. McEvoy says it was partly be­cause of his fa­ther, Howard, who stayed with the depart­ment for 35 years.

Mr. McEvoy’s wife, Louise, al­ways sup­ported her hus­band’s pas­sion for the fire depart­ment. She has a unique trans­la­tion of the G W F D plate: “Gabe was fi­nally done.”

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

A FIRE­FIGHTER FOR­EVER: Gabe McEvoy might have just re­tired af­ter al­most 41 years with the Glen Wal­ter Fire Sta­tion, but his Paragon Road home is still filled with signs from his fire­fight­ing past.

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