Ringing the toll of losses

Sam McNeish
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Firefighters across the Maritime provinces remembered

AMHERST - One chime of the bell rang loudly.

The solemn faces of the men and women who heard those chimes signified the lives of those who worked diligently to ensure the safety of communities throughout the Maritime provinces.

Ringing the toll of losses

AMHERST - One chime of the bell rang loudly.

The solemn faces of the men and women who heard those chimes signified the lives of those who worked diligently to ensure the safety of communities throughout the Maritime provinces.

In total, 55 firefighters from across the three provinces were honoured during the third annual Maritime Firefighters Memorial service held at the First Baptist Church.

"The fire service is like a big family. To lose one of our brothers and sisters, in a fire or through natural causes, is a big loss to all of us,'' Alistair Forsythe, president of the Maritime Firefighters Association and a member of the Bible Hill Fire Brigade, said.

"We had over 500 here today and this shows the caring people have for firefighters,'' he added.

Organizers Roger Gouchie Sr. and Vern Megeney were overwhelmed with the participation and the reasons why people attended.

"All kidding aside, you do the math on the people we honoured here today and the number is astounding for years of service,'' Gouchie said.

"If you added it all up it would scare you. A lot of those guys were older guys with more than 30-years service or more. Then you look at a guy like Justin (Crawford) from Wentworth who lost his life in a fire, he only had six months of service. He, like all these guys, is one of us,'' he added.

Each time a call comes in firefighters, police, EHS and all first responders don't know what to expect or whether they will be safe and return from the call.

"In general, we never know what is going to happen and, thankfully, this year we didn't lose anyone in the line of duty,'' Forsythe said.

"But you never know. We gather here today with guys that have 20, 30 or 40-years plus of service and that says something for the kind of organization we have,'' he added.

smcneish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: First Baptist Church, Maritime Firefighters Association, Bible Hill Fire Brigade

Geographic location: Maritime, AMHERST

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