Retiring and long-serving members of Amherstburg Fire Department honoured

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department honoured long-serving members and four retirees at a banquet Saturday night at the Verdi Club.

The retirement and awards banquet recognized retirees Richard Laframboise, Brad Amlin, Tom Kelly and Richard Dufour for their roughly 140 years of combined service to the community. Laframboise was the longest serving of the four retirees, having retired Nov. 30 after 40 years with the fire department.

The Amherstburg Fire Department held its annual retirement and awards banquet Saturday night at the Verdi Club. Top row (from left): Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Capt. Don Deslippe, Chief Al Reaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Capt. Randy Wismer, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise. Bottom row (from left): Capt. Frank Beaudoin, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Deputy Chief Jim Ouellette, retired Firefighter Richard Laframboise, retired Firefighter Richard Dufour.

The Amherstburg Fire Department held its annual retirement and awards banquet Saturday night at the Verdi Club. Top row (from left): Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Capt. Don Deslippe, Chief Al Reaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Capt. Randy Wismer, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise. Bottom row (from left): Capt. Frank Beaudoin, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Deputy Chief Jim Ouellette, retired Firefighter Richard Laframboise, retired Firefighter Richard Dufour.

Randy Wismer, who was honoured with 20-year service medal himself, said “the hall wasn’t just (Laframboise’s) job, it was his passion” and added that even though he was hired as a full-time firefighter after Laframboise’s retirement, he couldn’t replace Laframboise.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ouellette called Laframboise’s work ethic “exceptional” and said it would be difficult for anyone to match Laframboise’s passion for the job.

Ouellette, who received a 45-year service medal himself during Saturday’s banquet, said Dufour was “a good guy to have around” and that he was quietly effective during his 29 years with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“When you are looking for someone to do a special task, he was already doing it,” Ouellette said of Dufour.

Amlin and Kelly were not in attendance Saturday night but their contributions were recognized as well. Amlin retired after 36 years of service and Kelly retired after 35 years with the fire department. Ouellette praised the work of Kelly and Amlin, adding they are “good guys and good friends.”

Kelly and Laframboise were also awarded long-service medals for their time on the department.

Other recipients of long service medals and bars were Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Brian Gibb (25 years), Don Deslippe (25 years), Marcy Laframboise (20 years) and Rodney Ferriss (20 years).

The year since the last retirement and awards banquet wasn’t always a smooth one, and that was acknowledged by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

“It was not an easy year for the Amherstburg Fire Department,” said DiCarlo.

Retired firefighter Richard Laframboise receives congratulations from Chief Al Reaume (right).

Retired firefighter Richard Laframboise receives congratulations from Chief Al Reaume (right).

The most difficult moment of the year was when Firefighter Jason McLean died last November at age 40.

“He wasn’t just an ideal firefighter, he was an incredible human being,” said DiCarlo.

The mayor added McLean continues to live on through his friends, family and co-workers.

DiCarlo also pointed out last summer’s “change in administration” when then-Chief Randy Sinasac was let go along with two other firefighters. He said the department persevered through that period and continued to serve Amherstburg well.

“You stepped up and you showed professionalism and dedication to your jobs,” said DiCarlo. “You are the finest around and you will be remembered as the finest around.

Negativity should be ignored, he added, as firefighters should remember that “you are the best there is.

“As mayor, I have no doubt we have the safest community around,” continued DiCarlo.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey praised firefighters for not only the work they do, but the sacrifices they and their families make.

“You give so much of yourselves to the community to keep us all safe,” Ramsey stated at the banquet. “What you do in Amherstburg is greatly appreciated.”

Retired firefighter Richard Dufour (left) receives an award from Chief Al Reaume.

Retired firefighter Richard Dufour (left) receives an award from Chief Al Reaume.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak said the loss of McLean “was a difficult time for the entire community.” He also recognized the dedication firefighters show to their community.

“No one does this job to get rich,” said Natyshak. “You are doing this out of a sense of community and a sense of pride.”

Natyshak also referenced work firefighters have done to advance legislation into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), noting firefighters often see “horrific things” while carrying out their duties.

“That has to be recognized, honoured and respected,” he said.

Natyshak told Amherstburg firefighters that “you are making us all proud and you are allowing us to have a safe place to live.”

Fire chief Al Reaume acknowledged he walked into a difficult situation last summer but thanked the firefighters for how they treated him upon his arrival. It was a welcome that they also extended to assistant deputy chief Lee Tome, he said.

“All of you showed me I was welcome,” said Reaume.

Reaume added he will likely be around for another year or so.

 

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