CORNER BROOK Firefighters with nearly 40 years of service and just four months, all stood proudly by as a picture was unveiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Corner Brook Fire Department outside city hall on Wednesday.
The picture, made available by the Corner Brook Museum and Archives, is from 1978 and shows firefighters standing by trucks outside a city firehall.
Among the firefighters to watch as Mayor Neville Greeley and fire chief Neville Wheaton uncovered the picture were Jim Parsons, Brent Griffin and Ryan Stride.
Parsons has been with the department for 38 years and Griffin for 39. At just four months in, Stride is the rookie among the group.
But that doesn’t matter he said because “all the guys, they are the best kind.”
Both Parsons and Griffin left jobs at the city’s paper mill when it was under the management of Bowaters to become firefighters.
Parsons said why he wanted to become a firefighter is a tough question to answer. But Griffin said it had to do with the schedule being a firefighter offered and the opportunity to help others.
“I like helping people,” he said, “I could never pass someone on the road broke down. So helping people was always there.”
In their years with the department the two veterans have seen a lot of changes.
“Just the upgrade of equipment,” said Parsons reflecting on some of those changes.
“And the knowledge, and the new technologies that they’re coming out with now,” added Griffin.
All three felt the recognition of the department by the city, which took place before a crowd on Corner Brook Day, was good.
“It’s nice,” said Parsons. “Some of the stuff that we do, you don’t do it to get the recognition. But it’s nice to get it.”
“It’s always nice to receive some recognition,” said Griffin.
Stride was happy to be able to share in the event with the other members of the department.
“It’s good the boys are getting recognized for all the hard work they’ve done over the years,” he said.
During the ceremony Greeley said Corner Brook is in a unique position in that it has a professional fire department. “And we’re certainly very pleased and very proud of the history of the Corner Brook Fire Department.”
In addressing the crowd Wheaton said “the fire service throughout the country does what they do and doesn’t look for the recognition. But when it does come up it’s very well appreciated.”
Wheaton also thanked the city and its residents for the recognition.
Following the event Greeley said the picture was a fitting way to mark the anniversary as it shows the history of the department.
“This is a way of prominently displaying the fact that we’ve had professional firefighting services in the city for 60 years and it’ll be a piece of history for current and future members to look back on.”
He also thought it was great to see a mix of firefighters present for the ceremony.
“There’s a lot of experience there and there’s a lot of willingness and eagerness to learn.”