The Cavan-Monaghan Fire Department has two paid staff members: Fire Chief Bill Balfour and Fire Prevention/Training Officer Eydie Vandenberg, and one administrative position.
A group of sixty trained and dedicated volunteer Firefighters respond to emergency calls at all hours of the day within the township and beyond, often helping neighbouring communities in disastrous circumstances. That’s not all they do.
When they’re not dousing flames, helping motor vehicle accident victims or responding to emergency health calls for service, these local residents find time to help the community through their volunteer group, the Millbrook Cavan Firefighters’ Association whose members are all local firefighters, past and present.
The group raises funds to help the community and to maintain the Old Fire Hall Museum located on Hay St. around the corner from the former municipal office. Some of their recent donations are pictured above. The museum building is owned by the township, but the Firefighters began to operate it as a museum in 1993 and have recently signed another extended lease for the building. The agreement leaves the responsibility for exterior maintenance with the township, while the Firefighters look after the interior which has just received a new set of stairs. Not surprisingly, the museum also houses items of historical significance, including some of the antique equipment used to put out fires in town in times gone by. Also on site are their historical archives which include published reports describing fires in the area, some dating back to the late 1800’s. This museum is open during most in-town events, with the next scheduled opening during Christmas in the Village scheduled for the evening of 9th.
The group occasionally runs what they call “Boot Drives” during community events such as the recent truck and tractor pull, where donations are literally collected in a firefighter boot. They hosted their third Touch a Truck event in September. They began helping the Legion by setting up the huge Christmas tree outside the Millbrook Legion last year, which is donated by local resident Ian Elgar. They are now unofficially part of the decorating crew, and will be on site on in late November to put up this year’s tree and help the Decorating Committee finish the job.
One of the association’s regular fundraising events has been an Elimination Dance at Christmas time. Last year, it transformed into an Elimination Draw which took place electronically on Christmas Eve and will run again this year. Tickets cost $10 and the first ticket drawn pays $100, and the last two ticket holders have the option of continuing the draw leaving them all or nothing, or sharing the $1000 last ticket standing earnings. Tickets for this draw are only available from members of the association who or through the association’s Facebook page. If supply remains, tickets will be on sale at the Christmas in the Village event.
Becoming a member of this elite group requires many skills and a great deal of commitment. Recruits must be at least 18 years of age and be graduate progress through a rigorous training program and live in the community of close to one of the Fire Halls. Most importantly, though, they must be committed to their neighbours, and ready to respond to calls for help whenever possible. It may seem old fashioned to be served by a group of volunteer Firefighters, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks. KG