By Justin Seward
Cypress County and area was in mourning after one of their beloved firefighters James Hargrave died in a car accident while fighting the wildfire near Hilda last Tuesday night.
The well-known rancher from Walsh was returning home around 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 in terrible driving conditions that involved smoke, dust and wind before becoming involved in a collision in his three-ton army truck where he was found dead.
Local politicians weighed in expressing their condolences to the very likable individual in the cattle and firefighting world.
Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said he got to know Hargrave over the last seven years in politics and had nothing but great remarks on the young father of four.
“He was so willing to get involved to make Alberta stronger (and) willing to make the rural community stronger,” said Barnes.
“Whenever he had a a question on environmental protection orders, the cattle business, James was one of our go to guys. He was an absolute giant of a man who I thought the world of.”
Barnes added that many people will have step in one guys shoes because that was how big of an imprint James had left
Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner released via a press release “James’ love of Alberta was infectious and his priority was always to protect the land for the benefit of the community and future generations.”
“I can safely say the wounded hearts of all residents of southeastern Alberta now beat support for James’ wife and children, friends and family.
Local MP Glen Motz made a statement via YouTube on Oct. 19 from the House of Commons on the quick response of the volunteers and farmers to help contain the fire and what Hargrave meant to the community.
“The quick response from local farmers, residents and volunteers help put out the fire,” said Motz.
“Tragically, the fire claimed the life of volunteer firefighter James Hargrave. A dedicated father, husband, rancher and community leader known for his land stewardship, environmental issues and advocating for Canada’s farming and ranching industry. James’ passion was operating the JH Ranch north of Walsh. Our hearts go out to all of those who were impacted by the fire and especially to James’ family and as many friends . Our community, our province, indeed our country is less with the loss of James Hargrave.”
Hargrave left behind his wife Elizabeth, children Hudson, Alec,Savannah and the most recently borned Isobelle. He was 34 when he passed away.