Car­ry­ing the line

Fam­ily’s ser­vice to Marystown Fire De­part­ment spans three gen­er­a­tions

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN FAR­RELL THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

MARYSTOWN, NL- Cor­nel­sius (Corn) Green of Lit­tle Bay joined the Marystown Fire Vol­un­teer De­part­ment around 1975. He con­tin­ued to serve with the de­part­ment for ap­prox­i­mately 17 years.

“Then he started get­ting sick and (my) mother sort of talked him into re­tir­ing out of the fire de­part­ment,” ex­plained Leo Green, Corn’s son.

Leo re­calls see­ing his fa­ther go­ing to the Mon­day night drills.

“Dad would never miss, not for noth­ing,” he said. “He’d work all day then he’d come home in the evening time, he’d go to the drills and ev­ery­thing like that, I used to come in some­times when I was a lit­tle boy with him, just fool­ing around the fire hall.”

Leo said his fa­ther worked as a me­chanic at a num­ber of garages around Marystown, “but he al­ways made time to come to the fire hall for drills, and he al­ways had his pager on. Back then they had a lit­tle light on their fen­der used to flash back and forth.”

Leo said he be­lieves that one of the first fires his fa­ther re­sponded to as a part of the de­part­ment was ei­ther the fire at the for­mer church in Marystown, or the com­mu­nity wharf in Lit­tle Bay.

“I think there was a Mur­ley’s build­ing up in Cre­ston North, that was a bad one that they had — he was on that one,” Leo re­called.

Last week marked the 50th an­niver­sary of the Marystown Fire De­part­ment. Dur­ing the event the de­part­ment held a meet and greet for cur­rent and for­mer mem­bers of the de­part­ment.

Corn was among the past mem­bers there that night.

Leo noted his fa­ther has many friends within the com­mu­nity. On July 14, among all the cur­rent and past mem­bers of the de­part­ment, for­mer Marystown mayor Jerome Walsh spoke about his fa­ther.

“He said, ‘I hope no­body takes any­thing out of con­text what I am go­ing to say,’ but he said ‘when I walked in here last night and I seen Corn Green here…it just made my day,’” Leo said.

Justin, the grand­son of Corn, added that dur­ing the meet and greet he had a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the things his grand­fa­ther told him of his days with the de­part­ment.

“You hear him talk about he done this in the fire de­part­ment, he’s done that in the fire de­part­ment, he’s made friends for life,” Justin said. “It re­ally didn’t come out un­til Fri­day night, cause hon­estly he was the star of the show Fri­day night. Peo­ple would come up to him — tell sto­ries about what they done one time…”

The next gen­er­a­tion

In the early 2000’s Corn’s son Leo made the de­ci­sion to join the de­part­ment.

“I used to think about it all the time, even when Dad was in there, but I was work­ing all the time and couldn’t re­ally put my mind into it,” said Leo, who also works as an elec­tri­cian at the Canada Fluorspar Inc. mine in St. Lawrence. “Un­til one day I said to the wife, ‘I think I’m go­ing to join.’”

Leo’s wife en­cour­aged his de­ci­sion to join the de­part­ment. She had been af­ter him for ages to be­come a mem­ber.

“It was 2008 when I joined, and I haven’t turned back since,” he said.

Leo en­joys be­ing a mem­ber of the de­part­ment.

“I like it,” he said. “Love all the guys here, ev­ery­body is good.

“We are al­ways at some­thing here — al­ways busy with the com­mu­nity, there’s al­ways some­thing to be done here.”

In 2013, Leo’s son Justin also joined the de­part­ment.

“I ac­tu­ally had no in­ter­est in it at first, when Dad first joined, be­cause Dad was on the fire de­part­ment be­fore me prob­a­bly five years be­fore I joined,” Justin said.

“Dad came home one evening and told me that they were look­ing for fire­fight­ers and were look­ing for new ap­pli­cants. I re­searched a lit­tle bit, and asked Dad some ques­tions, thought about it (and said), ‘Ok, this is prob­a­bly some­thing I want to do’, so I came in and put in an ap­pli­ca­tion.”

A month later Justin was be­ing trained as a mem­ber of the de­part­ment.

“I guess see­ing Dad take off out the door when the pager went off kind of got me go­ing to a lit­tle bit,” he said.

Justin noted his in­ter­est in join­ing the de­part­ment did not stem from want­ing to be part of a line of fire­fight­ers in his fam­ily.

“To be hon­est, we had no idea about the third gen­er­a­tion thing,” he said. “I didn’t join the de­part­ment just be­cause I was third gen­er­a­tion. We didn’t have any inkling of it (un­til) one day Alex (Coady) said to us, ‘Your grand­fa­ther was on the fire de­part­ment, your fa­ther is on the fire de­part­ment- now you’re on the fire de­part­ment’, so he did some re­search and this is the first time this has hap­pened in our fire de­part­ment.”

Justin said they didn’t make a big deal out of it.

“We’re not in it for pub­lic­ity, we’re just in it to give back to the town,” he said.

Justin said dur­ing his ini­tial in­ter­view it was men­tioned that his fa­ther was a mem­ber of the de­part­ment.

“I stopped the of­fi­cers and said, ‘I am here as Justin, not as Leo’s son, so I want you to treat me like that and if you want to take me on, take me on — if not I re­spect that, but I don’t want you to take me on be­cause of my last name.”

Justin, who works as an emer­gency med­i­cal re­spon­der, also cred­its his in­volve­ment with the de­part­ment for his cur­rent ca­reer.

“It just so hap­pened that me and a friend were out driv­ing around one day, and we come across an ac­ci­dent,” ex­plained Justin. “There was no­body else on the scene, I was only on (with the) de­part­ment prob­a­bly a month…by that time I didn’t have a lot of training, but I knew enough that I had to call the fire de­part­ment —I had to call the am­bu­lance and I had to help.”

Justin per­formed ba­sic first aid un­til emer­gency per­son­nel ar­rived at the scene.

“When the am­bu­lance came — one of the medics on the am­bu­lance was (with) the de­part­ment at that time — they came to me af­ter and said, ‘Our boss is in­ter­ested in hir­ing some more emer­gency med­i­cal re­spon­ders, would you be in­ter­ested in do­ing the course if I told him about you?’- I said, ‘Yeah sure’ — that’s how I got my ca­reer.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF COLIN PITTMAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Three gen­er­a­tions of the Green fam­ily have served with the Marystown Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment. The line started with Corn Green, mov­ing to his son Leo, and then to grand­son Justin. Pic­tured (from left) are Justin Green, Corn Green and Leo Green

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