CANSO – What has over a hundred hands, has a combined 1500 years of service and sits at the heart of several coastal communities? This isn’t an unsolvable riddle, the answer is the Canso / Hazel Hill Volunteer Fire Department and the associated Ladies Auxiliary. Last Saturday, both these organizations came together to celebrate 90 and 56 years, respectively, of service to the community. There were laughs, tears and an abundance of goodwill in the room as Fire Department members, Auxiliary members, friends, family and invited guests gave recognition to those that have served.
The evening started off with a wonderful meal provided by local catering service Street Eats, followed by a brief introductory speech by Fire Chief Addison Underwood. “The dedication of our fire fighters and Ladies Auxiliary was strong when they started and continue these years later,” stated Underwood.
Melissa Richards, secretary of the Fire Department, also addressed those in attendance and highlighted the importance of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Fire Department. “They have assisted and paid for many pieces of essential equipment and apparatus for our department. There is nothing we have asked for their support for that they have turned down. Our Ladies Auxiliary is always there for us when we need them...To say our Ladies Auxiliary is second to none is an understatement. This group of women have been a pillar in our community for the past 56 years and continue to be today.”
One particular member of the Ladies Auxiliary was singled out for special recognition; 88-year-old Gertie Snow, a founding and still active member of the auxiliary, was thanked by the Fire Department members for her years of service, dedication and love over the years. Richards introduced Snow recounting all the activities Snow has had a hand in throughout the years. “At 88-years-old Gertie has shown her love and dedication for this Department by making every decoration you see on the walls and the tables and, yes, she was here to decorate,” said Richards.
Snow, on accepting the honours, thanked the Department and said how lucky the community was to have the Fire Department. “Some don’t realize how important it is to have a Fire Department in their community; they’re there for you, to save your homes and to save your lives. So don’t hesitate, when you see a fireman you want to pat them on the back and say ‘Thank you, you’re here for us.’”
Service awards were given to members of the Fire Department ranging from five years service awards to 40 years service awards. Canso / Hazel Hill Fire Department members hold a combined 920 years of service.
Next it was the Ladies Auxiliary award ceremony with service ranging from the full 56 year history of the organization, Gertie Snow, to newer members who have joined in the last few years. The Auxiliary has a combined 600 years of service.
Following the awards, local councillors Fin Armsworthy and Janet Peitzsche, Municipality of the District of Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts and Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines all congratulated the Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary members for their dedication and service to the community.