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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Firefighters presented years of service medals, thanked for continued dedication

by Sylene Argent

As a way to show gratitude for rising to respond to each call for assistance, dedication to ongoing training, and for their commitment to the community – which often takes away from time with family – the Town of Essex and Essex Fire & Rescue hosted a Firefighter Appreciation Night on Monday evening.

The event offered an opportunity to celebrate firefighters for their ongoing efforts, in addition to presenting years of service medals to those who have long-served their communities and have hit significant milestones.

Due to the pandemic, long-service medals were presented for the past three-years.

“It is rare to come across people who are so dedicated and trustworthy,” Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel said, while welcoming attendees to the Shaheen Community Room at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. “Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

Firefighting is a team effort, Arnel noted. “Because of this, very tight bonds are formed. This is a very good thing. Comradery builds strength, strength enhances effectiveness, and effectiveness creates symmetry that saves lives. The closer the team, the better the result.”

Members of Essex Fire & Rescue’s administration congratulated firefighters who earned the Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General (Federal) for 20-years of service, including Captain Mark Sweeney and Firefighter Doug McCormick of Station 1, Firefighter Jeff Stratichuk of Station 2, and Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Jacey Brockman.

Members of Essex Fire & Rescue’s administration also recognized firefighters who have earned the Ontario Long Service Medal for 25-years of service, which included Firefighter Walter Howson and Captain Joe Meloche of Station 2, Firefighter Trevor Menard of Station 1, and Firefighter Tom Abbott of Station 3.

Captain Tom Bonneau of Station 1, Captain Mark Bosse of Station 2, and Firefighter Robert Wezel of Station 3 were recognized for having earned the Fire Services Exemplary Service Ribbon from the Governor General (Federal) for 30-years of service

In addition, Arnel was recognized for having earned the Ontario Long Service Ribbon for 45-years of service.

Outgoing firefighter Ryan Siverns was also recognized during the event. Arnel presented him with his helmet, honouring the nearly nine-years of service he dedicated to the organization.

Arnel shared words Siverns used to thank Essex Fire & Rescue for allowing him “to serve with you, grow with you, and for making me feel that honour of being a firefighter in our town. It was a dream fulfilled for me and something I will carry and cherish for the rest of my life. The experiences, the people, and being there for the public will be memories I will fondly look back upon with pride.”

In addition, Arnel recognized the new recruits, who recently joined Essex Fire & Rescue, including Adam Mitchell and Kevin Sinn at Station 1; Cole Freeman, Dennis Lang, Angela Lang, Austin Power-Wagenaar, and Kyle Vermast at Station 2; and Alex Dunmore, D.J. Lacy, Jared Burns, and Kyle Renaud at Station 3.

This group officially started their careers with Essex Fire & Rescue on February 7.

He thanked everyone with the Essex Fire & Rescue team.

“We are proud of this department’s excellent record of promoting safety and minimizing risk through your prevention efforts, educating the community, and your commitment to best practices and innovative approaches,” Arnel said. “This is an incredible organization that provides invaluable service to your communities.”

He also recognized that by serving the community, it often takes time away from families.

“I would like to thank all those significant others in our lives who stand beside us through the good and bad. You are a huge part of this team.”

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