A heartfelt thank you

 

By Joel Charron

The Amherstburg Firefighters Association held their annual Fireman reception Saturday night at the Verdi Club.

The Amherstburg Fire Department officially said goodbye to three of their family members and celebrated the years of service of many others.

Deputy Fire Chief Gene Slipenbeek, Dave Brush and Dan McLean were all honoured by the Firefighters Association in front of family and friends as they officially retired.

Also, Paul Bastien, Frank Beaudoin, James Ouellette and the late Fred Dufour, were honored for their 40 years of service. Richard LaFramboise was honored for his 35 years of service while Jerry Ferguson, Mike Sinasac and Ken Tytgat were recognized for 30 years of service.

 

Back row (L to R) Dave Brush, Rick Dufour, Bart Dipasquale, Paul Bastien, Dan McLean, Mike Sinasac, Frank Dufour, Mike Dikan, Ken Tytgat, Rick Laframboise, Sean Dufour. Bottom row (L to R) Randy Sinasac, Nelly Green, Rick Murray, Dan Laramie, Gene Sliepenbeek, Jerry Ferguson, Jim Ouellette

Richard Dufour, Bart DiPasquale, Mike Dikan and Dan Laramie were all honoured for 25 years of service with the fire department.

Dufour, who was represented by son Sean, was presented with a special plaque.

Dufour began his career with the Anderdon Fire Department in 1970.

“From the moment Fred was hired it was hard to keep him from any call,” said Marcie Laramboise. “Whether it was our station or another, If Fred heard ‘fire’ Fred would chase it down.”

Laframboise joked that when the department switched to the pager system Dufour was excited because he would no longer have to “search around” for the fire, as the address would be given.

Known as “Fearless Fred” Dufour approached every call the same, at 100 per cent.

“Fred held nothing back. He took pride in every thing he did,” said Laframboise.

A man who enjoyed a good joke, Laframboise said Dufour found the humor in everything but was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

“Our fire department has a long detailed history of exceptional fire fighters,” said Laframboise. “It is with great sorrow and great pride that we add Captain Fred Dufour’s name to this list of legends.”

Sean, said this was to be a “special night” for his father, who told his family to book off the date six months in advance.

“I thank all of you for what you have done for my family,” said Sean. “I now understand what it’s like to be a fireman.”

Firefighter Dave Brush was hired at the Anderdon Fire Department in 1984.

“From the moment Dave entered the fire station it was evident Dave was living his dream,” said Laframboise.

Shortly after joining the department a full time position opened up and was filled by Brush.

Brush quickly gained the reputation as the helpful hand around the station.

“You could always count on Dave to help with anything around the station,” she stated. “Wether it was hall maintenance or track maintenance or preparing for fire drills or lending a rookie a helping hand, it didn’t matter what, Dave was there.”

Laframboise said that Brush’s near perfect attendance proved his love for his fellow firefighters and station was unmatched.

“It didn’t matter if it was his day off, Dave would drop everything and show up at the hall,” she said.

Deputy Fire Chief Gene Sliepenbeek has said goodbye after 34 years of service as a firefighter.

Sliepenbeek began his career in 1972 with the Anderdon Fire Department but left for Casselman, ON in 1977 due to a work transfer.

Being the only English speaking firefighter, Sliepenbeek never found his stride in Casselman and transferred to a new fire station in nearby Cambridge Township as captain where he served from 1979-84 before returning back to Anderdon. Sliepenbeek was hired back onto the Anderdon department in 1986 where he was shortly promoted to lieutenant.

After the amalgamation in 1998, Sliepenbeek was promoted to captain. He was later promoted to Assistant Deputy Fire Chief in 2010.

“You could always count on Gene for guidance, wiether it was fire related or not,” said Laframboise. “Thank for your dedicated years of service. Thank you for your guidance and sharing all your knowledge.”

Sliepenbeek said he always wanted to be a fireman ever since he watched firefighters battle a fire on the corner of Park and Ramsey Street when he was a child.

“I watched in awe as the firefighters fought the blaze and attended to one of the victims who was injured and I was hooked from that moment,” Sliepenbeek explained. “Here I am after all those years, finally retiring.”

Slipenbeek thanked all the chiefs he has served under through his years.

“I have so much to be thankful for because of their guidance and leadership,” he stated.     Slipenebeek also thanked his wife Jackie and his three children for their support throughout the years.

“I wish the best of luck to all the firefighters, please be safe,” said Slipenebeek.

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