Honouring the fallen...and still fighting

Sam McNeish
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AMHERST - Countless numbers of firefighters have risked their lives to ensure the safety of the residents of the communities they serve.

Honouring the fallen...and still fighting

AMHERST - Countless numbers of firefighters have risked their lives to ensure the safety of the residents of the communities they serve.

The majority are volunteers, people who want to help others, often perfect strangers.

Each of these individuals are vital to their communities and will be remembered during the 7th Annual Maritime Firefighters Memorial parade and remembrance service being hosted by the Amherst Fire Department this Sunday.

"When we started with this idea in 2000, we wanted to honur past members for their service and sacrifice," said Roger Gouchie Sr., a member of the Amherst Fire Department and one of the local co-ordinators of the event.

"It's appropriate to honour them. We just had a service this week for one of our own (Sidney 'Tootie' Hope) that we lost and there are countless others we need to do the same for to remember all they have done."

In addition to honouring the lives of past firefighters and the efforts of those who are still in the service, the ceremony will serve as a perfect kickoff to Fire Prevention Week.

Vern Megeney, who along with Gouchie, Bob Hanley and Edgar Burgess have been the driving force behind organizing the memorial, said he has confirmation from more than 70 firefighters who will be attending from the three provinces and at present, 40 firefighters will be remembered following the laying of wreaths at the First Baptist Church.

"After 9/11, these types of things became important. There were 343 firefighters lost in one swoop that day," Hanley said.

"We want to remember all of these people and all of ours," he added.

A parade will form at the Amherst Fire Department at 1:30 p.m. and firefighters will march or be bussed to the church for the 2 p.m. service.

Members of all first responder groups, cadets and two marching bands, including the RCMP Pipe Band, will take part. Organizers are urging the public to attend all phases of the program to show support for firefighters eevrywhere.

smcneish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Amherst Fire Department, Sidney 'Tootie' Hope, First Baptist Church

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