Tracey Ramsey

Remembrance Day in Amherstburg features largest parade since WWII ended

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Remembrance Day in Amherstburg was even more memorable than ever this year.

While Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 did its usual excellent job organizing the parade and the service at the cenotaph, it was made extra special this year due to the parade’s size. Capt. Richard Girard, zone Sgt. At Arms, told those who marched that it was the largest parade in Amherstburg since the conclusion of World War II in 1945.

The Remembrance Day parade heads westbound on Richmond St. en route to the cenotaph.

“This is the proudest day I’ve had in a long time,” Girard told the parade participants after its conclusion outside of Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 Saturday morning.

The ceremony at the cenotaph included the roll call of all Amherstburg veterans who died at war and also included two minutes of silence to remember all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey offered thanks to all of those who served Canada and also thanked the young people who attended the Remembrance Day ceremony. That included the members of the 202 Fort Malden Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

A member of the #202 Fort Malden Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps salutes as part of Nov. 11 ceremonies.

Ramsey also read a poem sent to her from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student Kathleen Drouillard, which captured the spirit of the day.

“It’s incredibly important that young people understand the sacrifices made by so many to have the freedom we have today,” said Ramsey.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak said people have the “solemn obligation to remember” and that he was honoured to be in the presence of all of the veteran on Remembrance Day. Natyshak stated that “peace came with so much sacrifice” and that veterans need to be taken care of when they are at home.

Capt. Richard Girard, a Korean War veteran, salutes after laying a wreath in memory of his brother.

“Our debt is a debt that can never be repaid but by being here, we honour their sacrifice,” he added.

CAO John Miceli represented the town of Amherstburg and he read an address from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who was recovering from surgery. DiCarlo’s remarks, as read by Miceli, noted that “we are a better country” because of our veterans and that it is sad many are now passing away.

“The young generation of today will not have the honour of knowing our veterans like we have,” Miceli read.

The mayor added, via the CAO, that today’s youth need to be educated on the sacrifices of veterans and added “liberties and freedoms didn’t come by chance, but by the sacrifices of men and women.”

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard leads the Remembrance Day parade back to the branch Nov. 11.

Laurie Cavanaugh, president of Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157, thanked those who participated in the parade and all of those that attended the Remembrance Day service. She added the cadets stood guard at the cenotaph late Friday night as part of their tribute.

Cavanaugh added there were a lot of volunteers that helped make the Remembrance Day parade and service a reality and that the Legion was grateful for their efforts.

Essex MP visits St. Peter’s ACHS College School

By Jolene Perron

 

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey paid a visit to St. Peter’s ACHS last week, where she sat with the boys for lunch, and answered their questions.

Students and staff from St. Peter’s ACHS gathered for a group photo at the end of Essex MP Tracey Ramsey’s visit last week

“It’s good for the kids to know this is who we in the area voted into power,” explained headmaster Peter Thyrring. “They should know her and know what she is about. It’s a very cool and important opportunity.”

Thyrring explained they reached out to have Ramsey at the school last spring, and it was decided that she would come out to see them in the fall. Ramsey said the school was the recipient of their Canada’s Summer Jobs funding, where the local government provides funding for summer students across their riding.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey is greeted outside of St. Peter’s ACHS last week where she sat to have lunch and answer questions from students.

“It’s just about knowing what the students are interested in,” said Ramsey. “I like hearing that they are playing sports with teams up past Toronto, that they are engaged in their studies and really getting to learn what they are focused on here.”

The students asked questions about Ramsey, how she obtained her position in government, about the time she spends on Parliament Hill, and about how the Canadian government interacts with the United States government.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey answered questions from students at St. Peter’s ACHS last week.

“She represents government, she represents us, and it’s a good learning tool. How often do kids get to meet with members of parliament? The kids need to know they have a voice too and maybe one day they will be members of parliament,” said Thyrring. “We are a unique school to the area, we are the only boys school, we are the only type of private school like this so it’s good for her to know too, It’s good for her to know what’s going on in her backyard.”

Amherstburg celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday with awards, cake and fireworks

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The celebrations at Amherstburg’s Fort Malden National Park are always very much anticipated, however this year the addition of 150 CanDo Awards of Distinction attracted even more people to the waterfront to help celebrate Canada and all of the amazing people in our town who do greatness every day.

To kick off the opening ceremonies and awards portion of the celebration, Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo read a letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Dear Friends, I would like to congratulate everyone who is being presented with the CanDo 150 Award of Distinction. Volunteers are at the heart of healthy and resilient communities. They are ordinary people who every day accomplish extraordinary things. I would like to commend the 150 volunteers of Amherstburg who are being honored today for their valuable contributions. You are all remarkable individuals who have taken the time, energy and skill to supporting the health and well-being of your fellow citizens. You can take pride in knowing that your efforts have helped to build a better society for us all. Please accept my best wishes, Sincerely Justin Trudeau.”

The Canada 150 CanDo Medals of Distinction hang prior to the start of the July 1 ceremony.

The Canada 150 CanDo Medals of Distinction hang prior to the start of the July 1 ceremony.

DiCarlo explained how this anniversary marked a very special occasion, in that they are able to honor 150 volunteers and residents of Amherstburg with the CanDo Canada 150 Award of Distinction, which was broken down into three categories – Service, Leadership and Legacy.

“Each and every one of you have made a significant contribution for your fellow citizens and to your community,” said DiCarlo. “You exemplify our community values and you have made a definite difference in the town of Amherstburg.”

Fireworks erupt over the Detroit River at the conclusion of the Canada Day festivities.

Fireworks erupt over the Detroit River at the conclusion of the Canada Day festivities.

Special events support coordinator for the town of Amherstburg, Sarah Van Grinsven said the Canada D’eh run kicked off the day with record numbers, and they even estimated an additional nearly 5,000 people coming to Fort Malden July 1. Top that all off with gorgeous weather, despite a couple drops of rain, and it turned out to be a “gorgeous day to celebrate a gorgeous country.”

“It’s all work that is because we love this country and we love to help the town celebrate,” said Van Grinsven. “Reading the nominations and learning all the greatness that is in our community was just heartwarming and half the time when I was at my desk reading them I had tears in my eyes about how great people are. There is nothing better than this, it is crazy rewarding.”

Canada Day-25

Canada Day activities in Amherstburg proved to be a family affair for many in the area.

Amongst the award recipients was The House Youth Centre’s activities coordinator Rebecca Vander Vaart. She said as a peer support mentor, she believes in the program and the people who looked out for her as a teenager, so she has always wanted to be able to do that for other people.

“I think that leadership is sometimes getting your hands dirty, and helping out in the community,” said Vander Vaart. “It’s really exciting and I am just very honored to be sitting here with all of these other people that I admire and I look up to who are just movers and shakers in Amherstburg, and I’m excited that some people think I belong there.”

ACS thanks its “stars” at volunteer appreciation dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) rolled out the red carpet to thank its volunteers.

ACS held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night at the K of C Hall with this year’s event being dubbed “A Night of a Hundred Stars.” It’s 124, actually, as that’s how many volunteers ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the agency has.

Those volunteers put in over 7,000 hours of service during 2016, she added.

The Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) volunteer appreciation dinner had a Hollywood theme this year with people able to pose next to cutouts of famous entertainers. Getting in on the fun last Wednesday night were ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and ACS board of directors president Terri Barrette.

The Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) volunteer appreciation dinner had a Hollywood theme this year with people able to pose next to cutouts of famous entertainers. Getting in on the fun last Wednesday night were ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and ACS board of directors president Terri Barrette.

“Just as Hollywood recognizes its stars, we wanted to recognize (the volunteers) the same way,” said DiBartolomeo.

The 124 volunteers was a figure that impressed DiBartolomeo.

“That is amazing,” she said. “That is our highest amount ever. We continue to grow every day.”

DiBartolomeo outlined the lengthy history of volunteerism and told the ACS volunteers that “you carry on a centuries old tradition and we see you as stars in our community.”

Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale brought greetings from the town. DiPasquale, a former ACS board member, said the people with ACS were those he was close to.

“I enjoy working in Amherstburg. I enjoy the people,” DiPasquale said. “I feel the people are part of my family.”

ACS also serves LaSalle and Harrow with LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya also being a Meals on Wheels driver when his schedule permits.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) receives a gift from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo for attending the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) receives a gift from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo for attending the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner.

“The service you provide to the community is immeasurable,” Antaya told the volunteers. “You can’t put a price on it.”

Antaya said it was more than just delivering a meal, but it is also spending time with seniors and those who may need just someone to visit them.

“Never underestimate your importance,” he said. “Continue giving. There’s nothing better than giving to your community.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey praised the commitment of the volunteers, adding the government can only do so much. Ramsey said those who serve their community make major impacts and that is what makes Essex County so unique.

“Thank you for your continuing service,” Ramsey told the crowd.

Bryan Dzombak (left) receives one of the door prizes offered at the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night. Making the  presentation is ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Bryan Dzombak (left) receives one of the door prizes offered at the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night. Making the
presentation is ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Terri Barrette, president of ACS’ board of directors, recalled learning about giving back from her grandmother and told the volunteers they were special and stars.

“What all of you provide to the community is invaluable,” said Barrette.

In many cases, Barrette said volunteers are allowing people to have choices and freedoms through such factors as the ability to stay in their own homes.

“You are not only their saving grace, you are inspiring the next generation to be leaders,” said Barrette. “In more ways than one, the community is stronger and richer because of you.”

Amherstburg Fire Department honours retirees, long-serving members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department paid tribute to nine retirees and eight long-serving firefighters as part of their annual banquet.

The retirement and awards banquet was held Saturday night with the retirees alone amounting for 264 years of service to the community. Retirees included former deputy chief James Ouellette (46 Years of Service), Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Kenneth Tytgat (35 years), Mike Dikan (30 years), Brian Gibb (26 years), Rodney Ferriss (23 years), Marcy Laframboise (21 years), Rob Taylor (20 years) and Russell Deslippe (18 years).

Also honoured was Al Reaume, who spent his last official day as fire chief Saturday night before re-entering retirement. Essex MP Tracey Ramsey thanked Reaume for the work he put in during his two years as chief and all of the award recipients as well.

Top (left to right) Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right) Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

Top (left to right): Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right): Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

“I thank you for your service to the community,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also thanked the families, noting all the time and sacrifices they have to endure in addition to the sacrifices made by the firefighters themselves.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted that Reaume was already retired when the town called him to assume command of the department two years ago when it was being restructured. He also praised the firefighters for the job they did during those difficult circumstances.

“You have remained focused, dedicated and professional,” DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo also reiterated what Reaume told the River Town Times in the April 12 issue. Reaume’s quote was: “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Leading is not always glamorous, the mayor added, and said Reaume came to Amherstburg in less than ideal circumstances. Despite the workload or challenges Reaume was faced with, DiCarlo said the chief was “unflappable” and did his job professionally.

“Amherstburg is a better place because of you and we wish you well as you go back into retirement,” DiCarlo told Reaume.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department's award banquet April 22.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department’s award banquet April 22.

Reaume also presented Capt. Rick Wismer with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence. Wismer was getting ready to head to a medical call in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016 when he looked across the road from Station 2 and saw a house on fire. The residents were still sleeping because, as Reaume stated, the fire started in the garage and went into the attic thus going above where the working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were situated. Wismer checked the home and was able to get the family out safely.

Wismer said it goes to show what the firefighters learn and that they fall back on their training in emergency situations.

“It’s very special,” he said, of receiving the medal. “Some people go a career without receiving something like this. I wasn’t expecting it for sure.”

Receiving the award from Reaume was special as well, Rick Wismer added, with Reaume being “like a father figure to us.”

Rick Wismer also received his 20 year service medal with other medals and bars going to Paul Bastien (45 years), Jerry Ferguson (35 years), Bradley Brush (30 years), Dikan (30 years), Tom Morand (20 years), Ken Rose (20 years) and Taylor (20 years).

Rose, a district chief, and Capt. Randy Wismer paid tribute to the other retirees. Randy Wismer said Beaudoin has been through many changes over the years and said his life is “honestly a remarkable life of service” and one that people should aspire to. Wismer called Ferriss someone who was honest and bold and also “a welcome sight to see on fire calls when I was promoted to captain.”

Laframboise was Amherstburg’s first female firefighter and Wismer noted that while there were challenges, she met them and became an important asset. He praised Laframboise for her work at medical calls.

Rose called Dikan a “wizard” who knew the capabilities of what could be done. Deslippe is a “super loyal guy” who was very knowledgeable and a person who “had your back” at fire calls.

Tytgat proved to be a “very versatile guy” at fire calls, Rose continued, and was also a good person when it came to organizing fire safety initiatives and Christmas parties. Gibb is funny, endearing and a “jokester” while Taylor was a “real pro” who took special interest in auto extrication and sharing his knowledge with his fellow firefighters.

The retirees in attendance made a few comments of their own, with Tytgat thanking all of his colleagues at Station 3. He added the spouses and families deserved a lot of credit as well for the sacrifices they make.

“We’ve got a good group of firefighters at all three fire stations,” said Gibb, adding the residents can be proud of the dedication of their firefighters.

Beaudoin said he was proud and honoured to work with his fellow firefighters and said his career went by quickly.

“It goes by fast, especially when you enjoy what you do,” said Beaudoin.

Laframboise said she was proud to be able to work with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“It was an honour to have met you all and work with you all,” said Laframboise.

Taylor also praised the firefighters and encouraged everyone to “keep up the good work” while Ferriss said he will have nothing but good memories from his time on the fire department.

Bruce Montone, the new chief of the Amherstburg Fire Department, said he was struck by the “sense of family” that exists within the department.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to work with you and earn my place hopefully as part of your family,” Montone told the large crowd at the AMA Sportsmen Club. “I hope very much to do that.”

Montone said when new firefighters are brought on, they bring a “two-for-one” value as their spouses also come as part of the package.

Reaume recalled the accomplishments in his two years as chief, including complying with the 23 orders from the Ministry of Labour, upgrading and servicing equipment with the help of town council, establishing health and safety committees and correcting about 175 deficiencies they found, initiating an Ontario Fire Marshal review with the goal to help with training, getting $30,000 from the Ministry of Health to assist with emergency management and partnering with the Rotary Club on a carbon monoxide detector project.

Deputy Chief Lee Tome said he worked with Reaume for 33 years and worked with Montone for five years and “I can assure you we are going to continue the progress we’ve made.” Tome agreed that “firefighters are doing it for the right reasons” and also praised the families.

“I enjoy it here so much,” said Tome. “It’s been such a great experience.”