| Mar 06, 2008

Feature Article - March 6, 2008

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Feature Article - March 6, 2008 Kaladar/Barrie Fire Department Family Appreciation NightBy Jule Koch Brison

John bolton, Fire Chief Casey Cuddy and Reeve Henry Hogg

“This evening is to show appreciation to all the people who regularly see their husbands or wives disappear during supper or in the middle of the night, and don’t know when they’re coming back,” said KBFD Fire Chief Casey Cuddy in opening an Appreciation Dinner for the families of the volunteer firefighters on March 2 at the Flinton Hall.

Cuddy stressed that without the support of their families, who are often left looking after the business, the kids, filling in at work or finishing up the jobs that that the firefighters have to drop to go on a call, the department could not be where it is today.

The Kaladar/Barrie Fire Department is a joint fire department serving both North Frontenac and Addington Highlands Townships. Casey Cuddy gave a brief history of the department from its beginnings in 1969, when a group of people who “hung around the Northbrook Hotel” started to hold meetings there about forming a volunteer fire department. John and Elaine Bolton were the owners of the hotel at the time, and John became the fire chief of the “Land o’ Lakes Fire Brigade” after it was formed in 1970.

With some creative fundraising, the brigade was able to purchase a 1940 Chev Fire Truck for $700. It was stored at Butson’s Garage. Still, the department needed $15,500 to build a fire hall, so Art Freeburn, John Huskson, and John Bolton each signed a personal guarantee for the loan to build the fire station.

Cuddy described some of the fundraising that took place, from raffling bottles of liquor to trail rides, dances – “Anything you can think of, they did it – it got so you couldn’t go to the gas station without buying a ticket,” he joked.

“Or the liquor store - or the hotel,” piped up some voices from the audience.

The Northbrook Fire Hall was built in 1972. The brigade became the Kaladar Fire Department in the 1980s and then the Kaladar/Barrie Fire Department in 1989. John Bolton was the backbone of the fire department through its various metamorphoses, mentoring and training the fire fighters, and tirelessly serving as fire chief from 1970 to 1999.

Cuddy said the calls that the department responds to have changed over the years. In the early years the calls were mostly for chimney and house fires; now there are more motor vehicle collision, medical and rescue calls.

Several service awards were presented at the dinner. Long service awards were presented: to Dean Salmond (25 years), Roger Perry (27 years), Richard Tryon (32 years), John Bolton (35 years), and posthumously to Bill Salmond (32 years). Bill died in the line of duty on August 5 last year.

Elaine Bolton received a plaque in appreciation of her many years of support of the fire department. John Bolton was also presented with a retirement gift and he received a standing ovation when it was presented.

John and Elaine’s daughter Cindy then gave the inside scoop on growing up in a firefighting family. She described the “unbelievable joy of the first crew when they saw that 1940 truck”.

She also described the first dispatching system. It consisted of five fire phones in five different homes – they were old rotary phones with the dials removed so no one would mistake them for ordinary phones. When the fire phone rang, everybody knew the routine, Cindy said. “If you were on the phone, you got off; if you were in the bathroom you got out, because Mom had to run to the phone to phone everybody and Dad had to run to the bathroom, which was the first preparation for firefighting”. As the Bolton children grew older they both participated in the call out list – once they were even given the authority to send the trucks out. Even after Cindy became a nurse, if there was an emergency while she was visiting at home, she was immediately pressed into service.

Cindy Bolton said that although her dad has retired, he still stays glued to the scanner, listening and wondering. “He is always thinking of all of you,” she concluded.

About 80 people enjoyed the excellent roast beef dinner, which was catered by the Flinton Community Club.

Casey Cuddy thanked all the families for their sacrifices, commitment and hard work in supporting their firefighting spouses and parents.

Out of the lime light but working just as hard is the support people for the fire fighters. They are often left looking after the family business, or the kids, filling in at work or finishing up that job that you left, to go on a call. Then there are all those phone calls and that pager going off at all times.

If it wasn’t for the donations, all the fundraising, and those people who made it all happen over the years, we would not be where we are today. Let’s take a moment to thank those who gave so much of themselves. You are what makes a community great.

He saw the department through

Fire Marshals long service – Roger Perry for 27 years, Sheila Perry, Dean Salmond 25 years, Bill Salmond 32 years, Richard Tryon 32 years, Elaine Bolton 29 years and John Bolton 35 year service bars.

Fire services Exemplary Service Medals went to Dean Salmond, Roger Perry, and Richard Tryon.

Retirement gift of a replica of an antique fire truck with “Land O Lakes FD” on it was presented to John Bolton. John was the first fire chief of the then Land o Lakes Fire Brigade started in 1970, which became the Kaladar fire department in the early 80’s and became the Kaladar/Barrie Fire Dept. in 1989. John remained Fire Chief and saw the department through to 1999 when he stepped down. He remained on the department until Jan. 2007.

A plaque was presented to Elaine Bolton for in appreciation of her years of support of the fire department. Elaine was the dispatcher for many years. She would take the fire call and start phoning the fire fighters to respond. She did this until the late 80’s when radios and pagers were put in place and Napanee fire Department was contracted to take the calls and dispatch the fire fighters. She often did secretarial work for the department and handled inquires when John wasn’t available.

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