It is seldom that you can say someone is indispensable. Yet, until very recently there was such a person working for the Town of Brome Lake: Pierre Laplante, the dean of municipal employees. The Fire Chief was also responsible for the First Responders, and for the safety and security on the lake as well as looking after its water level as manager of the Foster dam. Pierre Laplante retired in August after 42 years of service to the citizens of Brome Lake.

He joined the town as a police officer in July of 1975. Eleven years later he was in charge of fire prevention pro- grams, and in October 1988 he became Director of the Fire Department, a position he held until his retirement.

Those who worked with him over the years only have good words to say. “I worked with him as a policeman between ’71 and ’86 and as Police Chief between ’87 and 2002 he was very loyal and devoted,” said TBL Mayor Richard Burcombe. “He was close to the people and insisted on being easily accessible. He wanted to make sure things were done properly even if it was the week- end. He took on a lot of responsibility. It says a lot about his dedication.”

As Director-General, Gilbert Arel was Pierre’s boss, and he’s quite proud of his employee. “For some he was viewed as a father or a brother or an uncle. When Pierre was asked to handle a file, you knew it would be planned and well done. You didn’t have to worry. He was avail- able, he was dependable he was a true professional. Those qualities are rare to find these days.”

Donald Mireault, Sutton’s Fire Chief will add Pierre’s responsibilities as TBL Fire Chief to his own. He told Tempo “It’s quite an honour and quite a task to be called upon to f ill such big shoes!”

Alan Bowbrick has already taken over the job of looking after the team of First Responders. It is still not decided who will take over as head of the security for the nautical patrol. The management of the Foster Dam and the controlling of the water levels is now entrusted to the Service of Public Works. In his capacity as manager of the dam, Pierre worked closely with Renaissance Lac Brome and its Secretary Pierre Beaudoin. Beaudoin remembers “how Pierre was constantly on the alert, keep- ing an eye on weather conditions at every hour of the day. When he was on the lake as security patrol he would insist on making sure the rules were respected and he would call on boaters to adopt a responsible conduct on the water. Pierre did not count the hours or measure his advice and his expertise. He was not seeking the limelight but he contributed to the safety and well-being of us all.”

It will take quite a team to replace Pierre Laplante.

Pierre may have decided to retire but it doesn’t mean he is now on holiday. His commitment and dedication towards the people of this town will continue. Pierre has decided to run as councillor in the next municipal election. A new departure for him.

Tempo offers its good wishes for your new projects Pierre and, thank you for all you did!