It has been four years since the firefighters of Brome Lake have been able to come together to recognize the commitment of fellow teammates. Over 350 years of accumulated experience gathered on February 8th, ranging from new cadets just starting out, to Neil Clarkson having 45 years under his belt.
There are two ways that fire departments recognize years of service. The Municipal Long Service Award is given in five-year intervals. The Governor General of Canada Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal is given at 20 years and then every 10 years after that.
Municipal awards were presented to 21 team members, some having been missed over the past few years. The first of two Governor General of Canada medals was presented to Darren Paige for 20 years of dedication and outstanding service. Ross Clarkson, Chief of Fire Department Operations, said Darren was the epitome of what a true Brome Lake fireman should be.
The second medal, for 30 years of service, was given to Chris Whitehead for his time with the department. Serge Sylvain, a former assistant chief in TBL, spoke highly of Chris’ leadership and team spirit. The Firemen’s Association also presented Chris with a gift in honour of his recent retirement.
Those in attendance were entertained by special guest Jean Grenier, a former fire chief. He began his career with the TBL fire department in 1969 when the firehouse was still at the top of the hill, present site of the museum. He said that being a fire chief in TBL was the most rewarding and enjoyable experience of his life.
There is no doubt that the feeling of family and camaraderie was particularly noteworthy among the TBL fire fighters which explains why there are so many that stay loyal to the department.