Stepping up to the plate
South Dundas’ newest firefighter graduates celebrated with their communities and family on Tues., May 7 in Morrisburg. From the left, chief Cameron Morehouse, Chris Goupil, Chris Marchand, Johnny Testerink, James Vaughan, Anthony Lemaire, Julenea Barnhartd and Mayor Steven Byvelds. Sawyer Helmer photo

Lending a hand
Anthony Lemaire was helped with his new epaulets by wife Elizabeth and their daughter Claira.
Sawyer Helmer photo

MORRISBURG – For the first time in the history of the South Dundas Fire Department, chief Cameron Morehouse welcomed six probationary firefighters to council chambers for their official graduation ceremony on Tues., May 7.

The members’ families and friends within the community, joined them for the ceremony along with their fellow firefighters. “Tonight is a big event for six of our probationary firefighters who now will lose that title. They have been questioning me, when they get their black helmets,” said chief Morehouse. After two days of fighting cornstalk fires, chief Morehouse joked that the yellow helmets, a symbol of their probationary status, had all but turned black from the smoke. This, along with their tireless efforts during training and testing, mean the firefighters are qualified to shed the probationary title.

“These six people were taken on a year ago and they have worked very, very hard,” said chief Morehouse who added that the graduation was extra special. “This is the first official graduation that this department has ever had and we are making history tonight.”

Before receiving their black helmets, Mayor Steven Byvelds congratulated the members and pledged his council’s continued support.

“I certainly look forward to working with our new recruits. It’s good that our people within the municipality want to help us out, want to be part of it and want to be in the action,” he said. “We take your job very seriously and this council certainly supports the fire department very seriously. We believe that they have a big role to play in our municipality. There is no doubt that we want to make sure you have the tools, and [that] we are a number one fire and emergency service department.”

Shoulders to lean on
Julenea Barnhartd was presented with her official helmet and adorned with her epaulets with the help of mother Tanya Barnhartd and grandfather Donnie Mabo.
Sawyer Helmer photo

Chief Morehouse then called upon each member one by one to be presented with new epaulets and their helmet. Chief Morehouse called up a special person in each of the firefighters’ lives to help secure the epaulets on their uniforms. To cap off the event, chief Morehouse welcomed guests to a small reception with refreshments and cake in the lobby.