MIDDLETON, NS - Middleton Fire Department had a busy year in 2017 as firefighters responded to a total of 88 calls, logged thousands of man-hours, spent additional hours training, and on top of that fundraised throughout the year.
Members of the department spent a lot of time helping the public and putting themselves in harm’s way.
On April 21, the department held its annual banquet and awards ceremony where Donald Hiltz received the Firefighter of the Year award and Captain Jody Spidle was presented with the 20th Dean Brown Award by Ron Brown and Lorne Brown.
Crew of the Year honours went to Captain Spidle’s Truck 11 that included firefighters Mathias Abbott, Lorne Brown, Mark Ejdrygiewicz, Dustin MacNeil, Hilliard Ewing, Jaimee Penny, Patrick Redwood, and Adam Tkaczuk.
MFD Chief Mike Toole gave a rundown of the years work by department members, including all those calls that ranged from car accidents and wildland fires to structure fires and mutual aid structure fires.
The department responded to two of its own structure fires and helped out other departments on 17 other structure fires. Other call highlights included 14 vehicle accidents, seven lift assists, three wildland fires, four vehicle fires, and three electrical fires.
Chief Toole said the department logged 8,827 man-hours in 2017.
“As you can tell, there is a lot of dedicated time in operating a volunteer organization,” he said. He thanks his deputies, captains, and the rest of his firefighting team on the hard work to keep the department going.
“Although I am chief, no one man can steer the ship without an excellent crew, and that I can say with proud words I do have.”
He said the town and Annapolis County are “well protected with all the local professional fire services that we have around us.”
The fire department also paid special honour to the Fireflies with a plaque for their 40 years of service. Fireflie members Cecile DeMolitor and Gayle Armstrong were presented with plaques and certificates for 10 years with the auxiliary group.
Marg Tracey of the Fireflies made a presentation of $10,000 to the department. In 40 years, the Fireflies have raised about $250,000 for the department.
Chief Toole and Deputy Veinot handed out numerous plaques, medals, certificates, and even a watch.
Firefighter and retired chief Chris Barker received his 40-year federal medal; Neil Freeman received a federa; medal for 30 years total fire service; Philip Townsend received his 25-year MFD service watch and provincial medal; Chief Toole received his 20-year MFD service award; Scott Veinot received his 20-year MFD award and federal medal, and Jordan Fudge and Darcy Robertson were honoured for five years of service.
New service awards from the province were also presented, some of which were retrospective with firefighter John Bath receive his service awards for both 35 years of service and 45 years of service. Gordon Rodgers, John Thompson, and Alan Cooke all received their 35-year awards – although Rodgers will soon receive his 45-year provincial service award.
New members to the department include Jenna Brescitti, Hilliard Ewing, Robert Hovey, and Jaimee Penny.
Those attending the banquet included chiefs and members of other departments, Middleton Mayor Sylvestor Atkinson, Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski, Town of Middleton municipal councilors, and respresentatives from Emergency Health Services, Valley Communications, and the Rotary Club of Middleton.
Funds from the Fireflies, the MFD 100 Club, and matching funds from Scotiabank helped the department purchase Holmatro rescue gear – a vehicle extraction tool worth $15,000.