| Jun 12, 2008

Feature Article - June 12, 2008

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Feature Article - June 12, 2008 Generations of Firefighters Meet AgainBy Julie Druker

Carter, Brendan and Bryson Brown, Alison Oldendorf, Captain John Chabot and Bevan Lambert, Portland District's first Fire Chief in 1958.

The weather surely was cooperating with the firefighters, their friends and families this Saturday at Station 4 in Hartington where South Frontenac Fire and Rescue celebrated 50 years of fire fighting in Portland District. There was no holding these fellows back. Almost every piece of fancy equipment old and new was brought from various stations in the area and was on display for the public to see, touch and learn about.

Allison Oldendorf, a volunteer for the last four years, put together a slide show that ran continuously throughout the day and included historic and contemporary photos. As a treat, she got inside Percy Snider’s old 1952 pumper and blew the siren on it, to everyone’s delight.

Heather Caird of Harrowsmith describes the event as “a real family affair.” Her dad, John Sortberg, was one of the first fire fighters here in 1958. And her mom’s brother is the current Deputy Chief Bill Babcock. Heather recalls “many of the fires of long ago from childhood….the sirens going and Dad getting up in middle of the night.”

Today children clamber all over the pumpers and trucks while adults talk in groups and enjoy a fabulous buffet lunch that included punch, cheese, olives and delicious roast beef sandwiches donated by Garrett‘s Meat Shop on Perth Road.

John Chabot, one captain at Station 4, says that the event is a great way to get the community involved and to raise awareness of the firefighters. It is also a great opportunity for past volunteers to meet once again. John explains, “There is a fairly high turnover in volunteers since the job is very demanding of time and difficult to keep up, especially if you have a young family.”

Bevan Lambert, the first fire chief of Station 4 in 1958, was in attendance and greatly enjoyed meeting his old mates from long ago like Ron Goslin, who came from Markham, Reg Watson and Ron Pritchard. The younger volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with the veterans who started it all so many years ago.

Deputy Chief Bill Babcock was very pleased with the turnout. He says, “Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event a great success.”

Here’s to fifty more years, Bill and all members at Station 4….and really….we thank you.

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