AMHERST – Trevor Gaillard claims he will have the best view of Amherst this weekend.
The veteran Amherst firefighter will be lifted up to 70 feet in the air at the top of the department’s aerial platform during the 18th John Michels Sr. Ladder Sit, a major fundraiser for the department’s muscular dystrophy campaign.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gaillard said. “I’m normally not crazy about heights, but that’s my truck and I’m used to it.”
This is actually the 23rd year for the ladder sit that began as a challenge between the Amherst and Cole Harbour-Wesphal fire departments. In 2000, it was renamed in honour of Lt. John Michels Sr.
Gaillard has wanted to sit atop the ladder since he first joined the fire department, but his job prevented him from taking off the three days required to spend 50 hours atop the ladder truck. This year, he has the time and figured it would be good for him to put his name forward for the task.
On Thursday at noon, Gaillard will be lifted atop the ladder truck where he will remain until Saturday at 2 p.m. when he is lowered to the ground at the Walmart parking lot with the sirens on each of the department’s trucks blaring.
With the exception of banking so much time per hour and medical checkups, Gaillard will spend most of his time at the top of the ladder – although it may be lowered if the wind is high.
While he expects combatting boredom and getting sleep will be some of his biggest challenges, he has talked to a number of those who’ve gone up the ladder in previous year.
“The biggest piece of advice they gave me is to enjoy myself,” Gaillard said. “Adam White (who was up the ladder several years ago) is going to lend me his tablet and both Superstore and Walmart have offered me their Wi-Fi password so I can watch some movies.”
Although sleeping could be difficult in the small box at the top of the ladder truck, Gaillard said he will have a zero gravity chair that will prevent him from trying to make himself comfortable sleeping on the floor.
The fundraiser usually raises between $13,000 and $18,000 each year, although there have been some years where the total is much higher.
There will be voluntary toll stations at the entrances to the Walmart parking lot as well as at the Atlantic Superstore. People can also sponsor a rung on the truck’s ladder for $50 each.
Others to have spent time in the bucket were Dwight Wheaton in 2017, Kurt Fawthrop in 2016, Adam White in 2015, Raymond MacDonald in 2013, Chief Greg Jones in 2010, Roger Gouchie in 2006, Steve Colborne in 2003, former chief Bill Crossman in 1999 and Paul Black (the first sitter) in 1996.