Drysdale legacy aids local firefighters

March 23 2016

GUYSBOROUGH - On a wet, Wednesday afternoon last summer, a plaque was unveiled on the Guysborough waterfront to commemorate the giving spirit of the late Jim Drysdale. When Drysdale passed away in 2012 he bequeathed a significant portion of his wealth to community organizations in the Guysborough area. One of the nine recipients named in the Drysdale legacy was the Guysborough Volunteer Fire Department. At the end of January the Fire Department purchased and received a new fire truck, in large part with the money they received from the bequest.

Just over three years ago, then-chief of the Guysborough Volunteer Fire Department, Don D'Entremont got a call informing him that money from the estate of Jim Drysdale would be donated to the Guysborough Fire Department. At the time they were told seven per cent of the endowment, but as Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Andrews said, "We did not know what seven per cent meant. It ended up being about $80,000 that the fire department received." All those funds went towards the purchase of a new fire truck which had been part of the department's long-term plan. The Drysdale money helped the department achieve that goal several years ahead of schedule.

The new truck hauls twice the amount of water as the truck it replaced and has three times the pumping capacity. "The other truck could pump 420 gallons per minute, and this one is 1,050 gallons per minute," said Andrews, noting that the pumping capacity helps top up the department's pumping credits, which are necessary for insurance purposes.

"We needed to up that for some of the new businesses in the area and water capacity benefits not only us but all of our surrounding fire departments through mutual aid agreements. We did not have a large volume tanker in the area. Which this is now. Basically that hauls as much water as two of the single-axle trucks."

The new truck was delivered on Jan 31, a late Christmas present for the Milford Haven Volunteer Fire Department. Since its arrival the 28 members of the department have had a day of training to familiarize themselves with the new features on the truck.

While the money was bequeathed by Drysdale to the Guysborough Volunteer Fire Department, it has benefited a much greater area. In the fall of 2013, the Boylston and Guysborough Fire Departments began the process of amalgamation and on January 6, 2014 the two departments starting taking calls under the name of one department: the Milford Haven Volunteer Fire Department.

The amalgamation has been a great success, said Andrews, "It has been a huge benefit. There's been increased take up in all of our meetings, increased take up in our training sessions; so we are seeing benefits all around.

"The call response time...before we'd have a fire department respond and they would have to choose whether or not to call a neighbouring department for assistance and now that time lapse is eliminated. Now there is a full response from all crews right off the bat. We cover 360 square kilometres of area," said Andrews.

When asked for a final comment Andrews said, "We're always looking for members."