There was a cause for celebration at the Royal Canadian Legion in Brigus on March 29.
The Bay de Grave Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its fourth anniversary during the annual firefighters’ ball.
The mood inside the legion was one part jovial and one part solemn as firefighters celebrated another year under their belts, while at the same time, remembering incidents of the past 12 months.
With the support of neighbouring departments in Bay Roberts, Brigus and Upper Island Cove, along with welcomed guest Harbour Main MHA Tom Hedderson, guests were treated to a delectable meal.
It was a great show of community support as the Legion was at capacity.
Bay de Grave Fire Chief Jeremy Hall held court as the master of ceremonies.
“It takes a certain type of individual to face what we have together,” said the chief.
As he uttered these words, Hall spoke the name of each of the 25 firefighters that serve with Bay de Grave.
“It is my honour as chief to stand here and introduce my crew,” he said.
When Hall did this each rose as the crowd showed their appreciation.
The Bay de Grave department serves the communities of South River, North River, Makinsons, Clarke’s Beach and Cupids.
The department responded to 77 calls in 2013. That includes eight general fire calls, eight structure fires, 37 vehicle accidents, four chimney fires, three vehicle fires, eight rubbish/brush fires, nine alarms and one medical call.
“We are ordinary people who are put in extraordinary situations,” said Hall.
The department also welcomed two new honorary members in former lieutenant Kip Mitchell and Frank Bishop Sr.
The crew’s inventory
Bay de Grave features an impressive inventory of equipment at its disposal. There are four vehicles: a 2010 Freightliner 1050 pumper, a Chevrolet rescue van, 1993 GMC 625 pumper and a 1971 Ford 625 pumper.
There are also a set of hydraulic extraction tools, known as the jaws of life, as well as a heavy lift airbag system.
The big announcement in the 2014 provincial budget where fire departments are concerned revolves around the more than $5 million allotted for fire departments across the province. That was good news for the Bay de Grave department, who are in the market for a new pumper truck.
In his speech, Hedderson addressed that desire.
“I can’t guarantee it, but I tell you we’re going to put up one hell of a fight,” he said.
Hedderson thanked firefighters for the work they do every time a call comes into the station. He also took the time to recognize the wives, girlfriends and boyfriends who are left to worry when that call comes in.
“They feel every fear that you feel,” he said. “If you have a sleepless night, they’re having a sleepless night. They give a tremendous contribution.”
Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore was on hand as the chairman of the department’s board of directors.
Moore said the board took a big step this year when it obtained insurance for all members of Bay de Grave.
“It is so important they are protected when they are out serving as firefighters,” she said.