Jeff Green | Aug 27, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - August 27, 2009 Ompah firefighters thank the communityBy Linda Rush
The Ompah firefighters.
Last Thursday evening 60 guests, invited by the Ompah firefighters, sat down to a gourmet meal at the Ompah Community Centre. The firefighters had invited them in order to thank them for their support over the 30 or so years the fire department has been in existence in Ompah. The meal, prepared by Ompah caterers Dale and Sharon Southward, was delicious, beginning with a marinated asparagus appetizer, continuing with a choice of Salmon Wellington or Chicken Kiev and finishing with a crème de menthe parfait. Fire department members served the meal. The crowd was then entertained by magician Dave Saunders, assisted at times by his daughter Airie. Stan and Marily Seitz also sang a couple of songs, including their rendition of “Buffalo Boy”, which produced lots of laughter from the audience
Organizers of the evening explained that they started thinking about it during the recent ATV runs. They were reminded of how supportive community members have been to the fire department over the years. The ATV runs are now a major fundraiser for the fire department, and community support is very evident during them. They started thinking about all the people who should be thanked for their support, and realized that just about every “senior” in the area would be included. Accordingly, all seniors in the area were invited, and most of them accepted the invitation, though probably everyone thought that it is the community who should be thanking the firefighters, not the other way around. The mayor and several councillors also were happy to be invited.
Steve Dunham and Leo Ladouceur welcomed the guests and mentioned some of the contributions of time and ingenuity made by people present in the room. Leo reminded the crowd about some of the history of the department. It began in the 1970s as a result of some bush fires in the area, and grew entirely through the efforts of community volunteers. In the early days fund raising was a top priority, and the community hall was built in the late ’70s in order to hold fundraising events. Leo reminisced about the late Bill Kelford, who instituted the fire department toll during the Ompah Stomp. In just four years he raised the $45,000 needed to buy the first fire truck.
In recent years the township has taken over some of the responsibility for the fire department, and three new vehicles were recently purchased and proudly displayed after Thursday night’s dinner along with some other specialized equipment.
Thursday night was a very special celebration of community spirit, and the Ompah Volunteer Fire Department is a wonderful example of what a small community can achieve.