LAWRENCETOWN, NS - In 2017, firefighters in Lawrencetown clocked 9,000 hours volunteering to protect local communities.
In his Feb. 24 report, Mike Stoddart broke it down: 1,200 answering call, 1,800 training, 2,600 meeting, and 3,400 fundraising.
“This is all time spent away from our families and in some cases our jobs,” said Stoddart in his written report read by deputy Glenn Whitman who was filling in for the chief who was unable to attend the department’s annual banquet and awards ceremony.
Stoddart said the Lawrencetown Volunteer Fire Department answered a total of 53 calls in 2018, including one structure fire, 19 mutual aid calls, two chimney fires, five medical assists, 10 motor vehicle accidents, two car fires, two grass fires, three power line fires, and nine alarms sounding.
Stoddard said the biggest highlight of the year was the arrival of the department’s new rescue truck that arrived in the village in late May. But there were other events that reserve recognition. New recruit George Milligan completed his Level 1 training, Alex Illsley and Ray Pothier were promoted to lieutenants, the department completed fire prevention activities at Anna Villa, Family Matters, and Lawrencetown Consolidated School, and assisted the village with Canada Day events and Christmas in the Village.
Stoddart said that while they lost three members in 2017, the department’s overall membership saw growth with the addition of Josh Tynes, Reece Friel, George Milligan, Jamie Batson, and Austin Whitman. The current roster stands at 33.
Besides the new rescue truck, the LVFD was also able to purchase two new chainsaws bought with money donated by the Rotary Club of Middleton. The club donated $2,000 to the department in 2017.
Commissioner Brien Reid brought greetings the Village of Lawrencetown.
“On behalf of the Village Commission of Lawrencetown I’d like to acknowledge the fire department and its volunteers for their ongoing support of our community and the surrounding area,” Reid said. “The village appreciates the level of cooperation and commitment we receive from all our volunteers but in particular the firemen and women with us here this evening. Their personal sacrifices and dedication towards the safety and wellbeing of others is commendable.”
Reid said each year residents contribute more than $87,000 to support the fire department through their taxes and individually support fire department fundraisers. He also acknowledged the department’s support of village events.
Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski told the crowd that with risks and dangers and emergencies, residents rely on someone to stand up and take action.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have volunteer firefighters who are as dedicated as the people in this room -- the people who have served, the people who are serving now,” Habinski said. “We owe you a tremendous debt of thanks, because over and over again, throughout the year, you are the folks who are willing to say ‘as much as I’d like to stay home with my family, someone needs help and therefore I’m suiting up and I’m going.’ You have to recognize how remarkable that is. That kind of selflessness, that sort of volunteerism – but not just volunteerism. Volunteering to put yourself in harm’s way for the sake of other people in your community. That is a remarkable thing.”
The banquet was also an opportunity for the department to hand out several awards to some of its members, including Deputy Chief Andy Lowe for 40 years of service. He received an LVFD pin, certificates from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, a second bar, and a federal medal bar.
Also receiving honours was Steve Irving for 20 years of service. He received an LVFD pin and plaque, government certificates, and a 20-year federal medal.
Mike Lockett, who was master of ceremonies for the evening, received his 10-year pin and government certificates. Alex Illsley received his five-year LVFD pin.
Receiving first year pins were the five new members – Tynes, Batson, Austin Whitman, Milligan, and Friel.
Presenting certificates on behalf of Annapolis County was Warden Timothy Habinski.