By Anna Smith
Volunteers past and present, as well as the residents gathered at the Seven persons fire station to celebrate the newest, shiniest member of the team.
The new Wildland fire truck was officially welcomed on August 3rd, with cake, coffee, and a brand new tradition for Cypress County, a “push-in” ceremony that harkens back to old, horse drawn fire equipment.
“In the volunteer fire service, we’re very proud to call ourselves professional firefighters. In fact, there’s no difference in our training or abilities. When compared to a career department,” said Seven Persons Fire Chief Fire Chief Justin Derzaph.
“Although we are an ever changing world with policies and technology advancing every day, the fire service is still based on tradition,” said Durzaph. “ Today we are starting a new tradition like counting the time honoured event and proudly welcoming a new apparatus to our fire stations.”
The truck was given a traditional wet-down by both the department and participating attendees, as a promise to take care of the new equipment they had been given, followed by a blessing by Pastor Maury McNeil of the Seven Person’s Community Church.
In addition to the reading of the Firefighter’s Prayer, McNeil spoke about the importance of firefighting within communities and beyond, and the difference they can make to those in need of their help.
“It’s a real personal honour for me to be asked to do this for a few specific reasons. I’ve been a burn victim myself and ended up in a hospital for a month at Saskatoon in the burn unit so I understand what firefighters can get themselves into,” said McNeil, as he shared a story from his youth regarding a controlled burn turned grass fire that got away from him in his youth.
“I just want to say a personal note of thanks to all of you, who serve our communities so faithfully, so diligently sacrificially,” said McNiel. “And yes, even at the cost of your own life, potentially, to respond to people in crises and needs on our highways, or in fire situations. I want to say thank you so much. And also on behalf of our church as well thank you very much for what you do for our community.”
Cypress had no organized fire protection until the 1970s, said Derzaph, but since then, volunteer and paid on-call members alike have risen to the occasion to become vital members of their communities, creating stronger bonds and new traditions with each passing year, such as Seven Person’s own Candy Cane Run, which will be entering its 33rd year this winter.
“Thank you all for joining us and being part of history and Cypress County. We are deeply honoured that you’re here to share with us this great step in being able to better protect our community,” said Derzaph.