GRAVENHURST - Fire and water can mix.
HOOKED AND LADDERED.
Larry Brassard took his official oath to serve as Gravenhurst’s first-ever full-time fire chief and director of emergency services by Mayor Paisley Donaldson Oct. 16.
Photo by Neil Etienne
With just the slightest touch of emotional waterworks, Larry Brassard was sworn in this past Tuesday, Oct. 16 as the town’s first full-time fire chief and new director of emergency services. Surrounded by fellow local volunteer department firefighters and members of his family, Brassard was introduced to the public during council’s Tuesday meeting, taking an official oath of office and sharing a few words about his goals as he takes on the position 40-year veteran Lorne McNeice officially retired from Oct. 14.
Taking a deep breath to compose himself, Brassard said it is an honour to be chosen as McNeice’s replacement.
“It’s an understatement to say it’s an honour,” he said. “I understand the tangible investment that you are making in the fire department by hiring your first full-time chief.
“I fully understand the implications and I take that to heart,” he added, saying as chief he will live by certain codes. “I believe in the three Cs: collaboration, communication and change.”
He had several greetings and messages to pass on to the public and his peers in the service, saying the local department has a very good reputation across the province and that Gravenhurst is an important location in the firefighting realm with the training college located there.
“The last couple of days that I’ve been here, I can see clearly why that is so,” Brassard said. “Your hard work and dedication has been apparent since I walked in the door. What a great bunch of people and everybody here in this town should be very proud of them.”
“But we still have a lot of work to do,” he added. “Our community, our friends, our neighbours are going to continue to demand more of us every day; we must constantly strive to achieve their expectations and every day jealously guard the trust they bestow upon us.”
To the community he asked for continued support of the volunteer firefighters, from the employers who allow the members to leave for an emergency to the families that lay awake at night waiting.
He added that if people in the community are curious or interested in becoming a volunteer member, “now would be a great time to submit an application; we are always looking to refresh and strengthen our ranks.”
“But even if you can’t step forward, you still play a key role in keeping this community safe,” Brassard said. “Every one of us needs to check our fire alarms every day in our homes. We have to prepare our families; do all you can to prevent fires from happening.
“Call us if you need any help with any of those items. We’re your fire department and we all work for you,” he added. “Just be patient with me over the next few months as I learn everybody’s name, but we will grow together.”
Brassard comes by way of Waterloo, where he was deputy chief. He has some 37 years of experience in fire and emergency services and has successfully completed several training courses at Gravenhurst’s Ontario Fire College.