By Justin Seward
Cypress County moved to match the donations that were raised by members of the county’s emergency services of $10, 684 for the newly formed James Hargrave Scholarship fund at the Jan. 23 regular meeting.
The scholarship is in memory of Hargrave, a Walsh firefighter, who lost is life in the line of duty during the Hilda fire in October.
“After talking to Elizabeth Hargrave, we felt the scholarship is best opportunity because one, it helps people, two it’s in James name and three it’s continuous,” said Cypress County fire chief and emergency services supervisor Kelly Meyer.
“It’s a way of showing our appreciation for people that want to apply for a scholarship.”
Vermilion’s Lakeland College was the institution of choice for the scholarship because that is where Hargrave went to school and has the emergency response centre and an agricultural section, both of which were his passions.
Hargrave’s wife, Elizabeth, released a statement on behalf of the family on the scholarship.
“It is an honour for James to be recognized as a kind, giving, compassionate human being.”
“I also hope and pray that people can learn from this tragedy. A lasting legacy for James would be for people to recognize the danger firefighters are placed in, when others ignore the warnings of professionals and refuse to acknowledge the risk of life or death situations.”
Fellow volunteer firefighter and county councillor Dustin Vossler said it was important for the crew to band together after an unfortunate event and put some funds forward to support a cause that they believe in.
“Any time a fellow firefighter passes away in Canada or in the US , it always pulls a bit of an emotional strain on any of us because it’s what we do. It’s a dangerous job and could happen to any of us really,” said Vossler.
“So being able to put forward some money for training as a scholarship for Lakeland College, it just improves the safety aspect for anybody coming up to do this training. It makes everybody feel good.”
Coun. Darcy Geigle represents the Irvine/Walsh area on council and said Hargrave served the community as much as he could and the scholarship will keep the legacy going and to get another firefighter on his way is money well spent.
The county has also received donations from other organizations wishing to contribute funds that will be utilized in Hargrave’s name.
Details are stilled being organized as to how the bursary will be distributed.