ST. ANTHONY, N.L.
The Town of St. Anthony thanked its volunteer firefighters with an appreciation dinner Oct. 13.
St. Anthony Fire Chief Peter Green noted when they are called out at 3 a.m., or in the middle of a snowstorm, it can seem like a thankless job, but the annual shindig is a reminder that what they do does not go unnoticed.
“We look forward to it every year and it’s an honour to be appreciated by the town,” he said.
Following dinner, Green presented gifts to firettes Joanne Ropson, Cynthia Diamond, Maxine Hedderson, Gaye Ropson, and Virtue Patey, as well as, switchboard operator Emily Campbell.
Dignitaries including Mayor Desmond McDonald, Deputy Mayor Krista Lynn Howell (who emceed the event) and St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows MHA Christopher Mitchelmore delivered remarks.
“Your selfless act of volunteerism has provided our area with a fire service that rivals any in the province,” McDonald said. “Your dedication to community safety is to be admired.”
McDonald promised to continue to support the department by providing up-to-date equipment and putting the volunteers’ safety first using the opportunity to pitch Mitchelmore for a new fire hall.
It was a theme that was repeated over and over.
For his part, Mitchelmore praised the firefighters, firettes, switchboard operators, council and members of the public who attended the event. He also promised to do his best to lobby for federal and provincial funding for a new building.
He told the audience he had taken Municipal Affairs Minister Andrew Parsons, around to see the St. Anthony fire hall Oct. 12 when the two of them were in the area to announce a new pumper truck for St. Lunaire-Griquet.
“I took him around town and I said, ‘Look, this is the St. Anthony fire department,’ I said, ‘It’s quite old and we’re going to keep working on that’,” Michelmore said.
He noted that a few weeks ago the federal government had announced $550 million in infrastructure spending for Newfoundland and Labrador communities. Mitchelmore said the federal money allowed the province to adjust cost-share ratios for community buildings reducing the town’s share to 33 per cent from 40 per cent.
He encouraged the St. Anthony fire department to continue to work toward becoming a regional service provider saying that would reduce the town’s share another 10 per cent.
The appreciation night and St. Lunaire-Griquet announcement coincided with Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13.
Note: Story was printed for the Oct 24th edition of The Northern Pen