Neil’s Harbour New Haven Volunteer FD
44 years in service... and still counting
The Neil’s Harbour-new Haven Volunteer Fire Department (NHNH VFD) was formed in 1973. Of the original 16 members, 3 remain active members. Ron Ingram, Innis Budge and Dale Smith continue to serve the community with dedication and pride. On Sunday, February 12th all three members volunteered their time to work at a Fish & Chip Supper which is one of the major fundraisers undertaken each year by the fire department. Ron and Innis delivered meals in the community while Dale spent the day cooking and serving up food in the kitchen. Ron (age 96) and Innis (the young feller, at age 77) are likely the oldest delivery boys in Nova Scotia and all they ask for in return is a feed of chicken wings!
There are currently twenty-six active members in the NH-NH Fire Department. Along with the three original members who have served for forty-four years, there are several other longstanding members who have served more than 25 years. These include: Keith Dowling (39 years), Greg Organ (36 years, 32 years as Fire Chief), Blair Fricker (32 years), Billy Hogan (30 years), Murray Rideout (27 years), and David Donovan (27 years, 24 years as Deputy Chief ).
There have been many changes to the fire department in the past 44 years. They are currently in their third fire station which was built in 1998. Since that time the fire station has been renovated to include a large meeting space in the upstairs. A Comfort Center was added to provide public washrooms, showers and laundry facilities that can be used by both local residents and visitors to the area. The fire department was also instrumental in starting the Enviro Depot in New Haven and has donated land to provide a space for a Green Gym and a basketball court/rink that everyone can enjoy.
The majority of funding for the fire department’s operating and training costs is provided by the Municipality of Victoria County. Some other costs are funded by the provincial government and supplemented by the fundraising efforts of the fire members.
Fundraisers include weekly 45 card games, lobster and tree sales at Christmastime and several fish and chip suppers throughout the winter months. In the past, annual “Linger by the Sea” festivals were organized and run by the firemen and other volunteers in the community. Funds raised with these activities have helped the fire department with renovations and purchases of new equipment. It also enables them to give back to the community in many ways. Each Christmas they bring Santa on the fire truck to visit and distribute treats to the patients at Buchanan Memorial Hospital, residents of Highland Manor, shutins, and all the children in the community.
The Neil’s Harbour-new Haven Volunteer Fire Department is an integral and valued part of the community. Many thanks are extended to all the volunteer firemen for their dedication and service.
NH-NH Volunteer Fire Dept members Innis Budge (left) and Ron Ingram (right) deliver meals as part of a Fish & Chip Supper fundraiser held on February 12, 2017.