The event, billed as a Regional Volunteer Firefighters Recognition Evening,” honoured members of the regional Volunteer Fire Departments from both Shaunavon and Eastend during a spirited celebration. The celebration featured presentations from a number of guest speakers who applauded both fire crews for their unselfish and dedicated service to their communities. “Everytime you get that call, you put yourself in harms way,” Shaunavon mayor Sharon Dickie said during her speech. “Thank you for your service. We are all very grateful.” “Nothing symbolizes our small communities as much as volunteerism,” said Eastend mayor Alan Howard. “And one of the greatest volunteer jobs you can do is to be a volunteer firefighter. You put your life on the line.” “Thank you very much – we all owe you a very big debt,” he added. Mark Anderson, representing the Shaunavon Chamber of Commerce, made an eloquent speech, comparing the hard work and hours of practice volunteer firefighters put to that of athletes or musicians. While the musicians or athletes practice with a goal to present their skills at a concert or sporting event, “firefighters practice week after week and hope they never get to see their talents.” Doug Lapchuk, the president of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, was another guest speaker and brought greetings from both premier Brad Wall and the Fire Commissioners office. “We’re the ones running to the fires when others are running away from them,” said Lapchuk. Lapchuk also made a special presentation to the Shaunavon Fire Department recognizing their 100 years of service to the community. Longtime Shaunavon firefighter and former chief Gordon Speirs, who joined the department as a volunteer in 1945 and served until 1991, provided a wonderful historical perspective of the challenges and changes that have taken place over the decades. He also spoke briefly about some of the biggest fires that have taken place in the community over the years, including several that resulted in the loss of life. Later, both Speirs and Doug Stevenson, another longtime local firefighter and former chief, were honoured by the Shaunavon Fire Department for their years of service. Eastend fire chief Bob Stork also made a presentation. Stork pointed out that these dedicated men and women “do not get the recognition they deserve.” He said volunteer firefighters sign up not for the glory, but because they have “dedication and guts.” “I know the dedication it takes to do this job,” he stated. “The people who do it are a special breed of person.” Kerry Kronberg, the chairman of the Shaunavon and District Fire Protection Committee, also had words of thanks to the area fire teams for their “extraordinary service.” And while most of the event’s recognition was directed to the local firefighters, Shaunavon Chief Dean McNabb applauded the “communities, businesses and our members” for their support over the years. He gave a special tribute to the family members of firefighters who have made their own significant sacrifices. McNabb also presented local media members Penny Schreiner of CJSN Radio and Paul MacNeil of The Shaunavon Standard with special honorary Shaunavon Fire Department membership awards. The evening celebration was sponsored by the RM’s of Grassy Creek, Bone Creek, Arlington, White Valley and the towns of Shaunavon and Eastend. RM of Bone Creek administrator Lana Bavle spearheaded the organizing effort. Crescent Point Energy, which also sponsored the evening event and recently provided funds for the purchase of a Shaunavon fire truck, was also singled out for their generous contributions to the local department. The event included a delicious roast beef meal catered by CJ’s Cakes and Catering.
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