Amherstburg Fire Department recognizes long-service and retiring members



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Fire Department bid farewell to retiring members and honoured long-serving members as well Saturday night.

The fire department’s awards night was held at the Libro Centre where they honoured Deputy Chief Lee Tome, Capt. Paul Bastien, Firefighter Mark Girard and Firefighter Chris Lucier on their retirements.

Capt. Tim Beneteau, Assistant Deputy Chief Ron Meloche and Capt. Jack Quinn were recognized for their years of service, with Beneteau and Meloche given their 25-year bars while Quinn received a 30-year medal.

Lucier was called “one of department’s greatest assets” and a “pillar at Station 2.” He was further described as someone with a quiet demeanour but a person who makes his fellow firefighters better. He is retiring after 30 years of service.

“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years,” said Lucier.

Lucier said he still remembers his first call and referred to the fire department as a “close-knit family.”

“It’s hard to walk away,” he said.

Girard was acknowledged for his dedication to the department but also his work ethic and hands-on knowledge. He retired after 35 years of service.

The Amherstburg Fire Department honoured its long serving members and retirees Saturday night. From left: Firefighter Chris Lucier, Capt. Paul Bastien, Firefighter Mark
Girard, Assistant Deputy Chief Ron Meloche, Capt. Tim Beneteau, Deputy Chief Lee Tome. Not pictured is Capt. Jack Quinn.

Girard thanked his family, all the chiefs he worked for and the firefighters he worked with over his career. He noted his wife came from a firefighting background as her father was former firefighter Harvey Deneau.

Bastien was honoured for his 45 years of service to the Amherstburg Fire Department. His fellow firefighters recognized him for his years of service and leadership dating back to the early 1970’s.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to be part of the Amherstburg Fire Department all these years,” he said.

Bastien also added he enjoyed working for the chiefs and his fellow firefighters.

Tome, whose previous stops included the Windsor Fire Service and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office before spending the last 34 months in Amherstburg, was the subject of good natured barbs from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli and his fellow firefighters.

DiCarlo recalled working on issues with Tome at the University of Windsor and referred to Tome as “relentlessly stubborn and that’s what makes us love him.” DiCarlo said there aren’t many people more competent than Tome and said Tome demonstrated his dedication and commitment during his stay in Amherstburg.

“Thank you for all you’ve done in the short time you’ve been here,” DiCarlo told Tome.

The mayor also stated during the banquet that all firefighters have adapted and persevered no matter what has been thrown at them over the past few years.

Miceli noted that “public safety is paramount” and that Tome was highly qualified when he came to town. He added that Tome has made him a better public servant.

Chief Bruce Montone presents retired Deputy Chief Lee Tome with an award containing all of Tome’s badges.

“Lee has made significant contributions,” said Miceli. “He has made Amherstburg a better place in a short period of time. You are the epitome of an exceptional public servant.”

Jason Durocher, president of the Amherstburg Professional Firefighters Association, said Tome has helped make “positive change” and that Tome rose to the challenges he faced, led by example and “worked with a smile on his face.”

Durocher commented that all of the retirements represented about 190 years of service, and added that “we’ve come a long way in 20 years” when the amalgamated Amherstburg Fire Department began.

Dave Bart, president of the volunteer firefighters association, also paid tribute to Tome, though joked “what do you give a guy that’s retired 14 times?”

Chief Bruce Montone said Tome has taken on tough assignments in his career and has shown leadership. Montone said Tome has left “an indelible mark in our lives and hearts.”

Tome was humble in giving his thanks to the room filled with active and retired firefighters, their spouses and dignitaries.

“I learned way more from you than you’ll ever get from me,” Tome told his firefighting colleagues.

Tome said local firefighters aren’t in it for the money, but do it because they are passionate about the job.

“You guys are amazing,” he said. “I’m really proud of you.”

Due to recent retirements, the Amherstburg Fire Department is a younger department now and urged the young firefighters to grow, learn and “make the retirees proud of you.”

“Thank you for making me a part of your family,” Tome told the firefighters.

Capt. Jack Quinn was recognized for his 30 years of service by Patti Hayes (from Essex MPP Taras Natyshak’s office), Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Chief Bruce Montone.

Montone also commented that in his first year as Amherstburg chief, a wide number of changes have been made. Among the long list were a new organizational chart, the new open burn bylaw under which 120 permits have been applied for thus far, progress on the nuclear emergency plan with the province for which he thanked Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, a new fireworks bylaw, completion of Ontario Fire Marshal regulations, work to better serve Boblo Island, a vehicle life-cycle plan and the purchase of two new vehicles, updating the Master Fire Plan and better training and equipment upgrades.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey also commented on the 20 years of an amalgamated department.

“That’s a tremendous achievement and I congratulate you all,” she said.

Ramsey said the Amherstburg Fire Department is “a tight knit family” and that she enjoys coming out on evenings where they are honoured. Natyshak couldn’t attend the banquet, but was represented by assistant Patti Hayes, who also paid tribute to the firefighters.

“It’s great to see their unwavering dedication to the citizens of Amherstburg,” she said.

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