‘It’s like a dream come true’

Miminegash fire chief speech­less af­ter com­mu­nity takes own­er­ship of new truck

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - THE GUARDIAN Wayne.Thi­bodeau@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/PEIGuardian BY WAYNE THI­BODEAU

Miminegash fire Chief Wayne Gal­lant, says he was speech­less as the new­est piece of equip­ment for his fire de­part­ment rolled into his com­mu­nity on Satur­day.

“It’s like a dream come through,” said Gal­lant, a vet­eran fire­fighter with the West Prince de­part­ment.

“It is go­ing to have a huge im­pact on our de­part­ment, our com­mu­nity and our fire dis­trict.”

The truck’s ar­rival marked nearly three years of hard work by the com­mu­nity, the fire de­part­ment, and es­pe­cially the sup­port net­work be­hind the fire de­part­ment, the Miminegash Firemenettes.

Rais­ing the $350,000 for the truck, and an­other $50,000 or more for equip­ment on the truck, is no easy feat for a com­mu­nity with a pop­u­la­tion base of less than 200 peo­ple.

Crys­tal Gal­lant, pres­i­dent of the Miminegash Firemenettes, says her group formed in Jan­uary 2007 fol­low­ing two ma­jor fires in the com­mu­nity.

The idea, she said, is that they would bring tea, cof­fee and food to fire­fight­ers dur­ing ma­jor fires.

“I think we only did that once,” she said, stand­ing by the bright red fire truck, which had a spe­cial thank you to her ded­i­cated group of vol­un­teers painted on the back of the truck.

“We were too busy with the fundrais­ing.”

The Firemenettes helped raise funds for badly needed equip­ment, a res­cue van and for the past three years the new pumper.

The group of 14 women raised more than $90,000 through dances, din­ner the­atre and its an­nual Ok­to­ber­fest cel­e­bra­tions.

But more work is needed, she said.

The truck is not fully paid for yet and the truck now has to be sup­plied with more life-sav­ing equip­ment.

The de­part­ment now has two pumpers, a tanker, and a res­cue van.

The new pumper has al­ready been chris­tened “Duffy’s truck” af­ter Duffy Chais­son, an en­gi­neer with the de­part­ment.

Chais­son played a crit­i­cal role in get­ting the right equip­ment or­dered for the truck.

The fire chief said that will pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion for the fire dis­trict, and bet­ter equip­ment for the 28 fire­fight­ers who vol­un­teer with the Miminegash Fire De­part­ment.

“Now, when we re­spond to a mu­tual aid call, we can have one pumper back in the com­mu­nity, just in case.”

Santa him­self de­liv­ered the truck dur­ing the Miminegash Fire De­part­ment Fes­ti­val, a three-day fundraiser also for the fire de­part­ment.

Rob Trem­blay, deputy chief of the Miminegash Fire De­part­ment, said the ar­rival of the new truck was emo­tional.

“I am still a bit teary-eyed,” said Trem­blay.

“It was so much work. I can’t be­lieve it is fi­nally here.”

WAYNE THI­BODEAU/THE GUARDIAN

Miminegash fire Chief Wayne Gal­lant, left, Crys­tal Gal­lant, pres­i­dent of the Miminegash Firemenettes, and deputy chief Rob Trem­blay, show off the com­mu­nity’s new fire truck which was de­liv­ered on Satur­day. The new, $350,000 truck was paid for through nu­mer­ous fundrais­ers put on by the Firemenettes, the fire de­part­ment and nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

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