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Demeria Firefighter of the Year

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With October being one of the busiest months since April 2012, with 31 incidents in 31 days Dauphin Fire Department (DFD) Chief Cameron Abrey was pleased to be celebrating an annual tradition, Nov. 4.
DFD hosted its annual Firefighter’s Ball and honoured this years recipient of the Jack Carey Memorial Firefighter of the Year award, Conrad Demeria.
Abrey said Demeria joined DFD in September 2013, completed his Firefighter Level I the following year and is currently enrolled in the Firefighter Level II training with a completion date slated for spring 2018.
Demeria has also completed numerous other training seminars over the past four years, he noted, becoming an integral part of DFD operations.
“And has even taken on the role of one of our driver operators,” Abrey added.
Demeria was nominated for the award for his extracurricular work for the department, he said, pointing out in addition to the regular schedule of weekly training and incident response, Demeria is the treasurer for the Firefighters Association and puts in an additional amount of time looking after fund-raising accounts.
“He was deeply involved with the raffle run this past summer and was instrumental in the fact that it was a total success, selling out a week before the draw date,” Abrey added.
Demeria volunteers for every event DFD participates in, he said, listing fire protection at Dauphin’s Countryfest, the Muscular Dystrophy Rooftop Campout and additional training on weekends, as examples.
Abrey explained Jack Carey was as a long-time member of the Manitoba Fire Service, first joining the Brandon Fire Service, remaining a member for 23 years and serving as chief for seven years.
Carey then joined the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner as an investigator and became acquainted with DFD, he said, becoming a close friend and supporter. In 1978, he created and financially supported the Firefighter of the Year award.
“The intent of this award was to recognize a member of the Dauphin Fire Department that exemplified true character and has performed above the normal call of duty,” Abrey said, adding the award is presented at the Firefighters Ball almost every year.
Members are nominated and voted on by their peers and this year, two individuals were nominated.
Abrey thanked Demeria for his dedication to DFD, adding an additional thank you to Demeria’s wife Shannon and son Drayson for supporting him.
“If it wasn’t for our familys’ support, we wouldn’t have this fabulous fire department that we have today,” he said.
Demeria thanked his family for their support and the department for the award.
“It’s a great experience to be with the department,” Demeria said.
In closing, Abrey said he was grateful to be part of the local fire family and shared a story about children visiting the fire hall for tours.
“And I tell them, ‘Guys, you have two choices in life. You can either grow up, or you can become a firefighter, but you can’t do both’,” he said.
“Because we’re nothing but a bunch of kids at heart. And who doesn’t want to grow up and drive a big red truck.”
The Firefighter’s Ball was also an opportunity to honour members who have accumulated 20 years or more of service, Abrey said, with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal.
He explained the medal was created in 1985, honouring Canadian fire service members who have completed 20 years of service, 10 years of which have been serviced in the performance of duties involving potential risk.
Additional bars are awarded in 10-year increments following the presentation of the 20-year medal.
While no members from DFD were eligible, two members of the Sifton Fire Department were honoured.
William Trush received a 20-year medal and Donald Lozinski received his second bar for 40 years of service, as well as a presentation on behalf of the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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