| Sep 04, 2008

Sept 4, 2008 - Firefighter Heads to Khandahar

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Feature Article - September 4, 2008 Firefighter Heads to Khandaharby Jeff Green

Jeremy Lowery, centre, with his Olden fire crew colleagues

“So when are you pulling out?”

“I can’t tell you the exact date. Security reasons,” said Jeremy Lowery to one of his firefighting buddies at an informal gathering over coffee and donuts at the new Olden Fire hall last week.

Lowery is leaving any day now for his second assignment in Afghanistan. This time around he will be working in the storage department at the Khandahar base, which he describes as a relatively safe posting.

“It’s an international base, and it’s only been shelled a few times. What’s a bit of shelling?”

Corporal Jeremy Lowery joined the Olden Fire Department in the mid-nineties, when he was still a student at Sharbot Lake High School. When he graduated from high school in 1999, he joined the military. During his first three-year tour of duty, he did a stint in Bosnia. In 2003-04, he was assigned to Kabul, where he was on the security team for the commanding officer of his detachment.

After six years, Jeremy Lowery left the military in 2005 and took a welding course in Kemptville. “I joined the military out of high school, and after six years I thought I should get some training.”

All along, Jeremy has kept his local ties strong. His parents, Ralph and Betty, continue to live at Long Lake, where Jeremy grew up, and Jeremy has remained with the Olden crew of the Central Frontenac Fire Department, even through his military career.

After finishing his welding course, Jeremy signed on to the military again, rejoining the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Since he is stationed at Petawawa, he has been back home on weekends, which has been a great help for the fire department this year; Jeremy has done all the welding work on the outdoor training centre that has been created on the site of the new Olden Fire hall, completed this past spring and in use since the beginning of July.

“We’ve certainly taken advantage of Jeremy’s skills getting the training centre built,” said Central Frontenac Fire Chief Mark MacDonald.

MacDonald said there is a natural affinity between the military and fire services, since they both involve people taking risks in order to protect the public.

“We look forward to Jeremy’s safe return in March so he can take part in training at the new centre,” added MacDonald.

About 15 members of the department, including Olden Deputy Chief Art Cowdy, showed up at the fire hall last Wednesday to wish Jeremy Lowery well. They presented him with a Canadian flag, signed by all members of the department, to keep with him while he is in Khandahar.

An event to mark the opening of the new fire hall is planned for late September. Fire Chief MacDonald is hoping it will coincide with a demonstration of the new outdoor training centre, with all four Central Frontenac crews participating.

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