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Dauphin fire chief honoured with national award

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Much more comfortable presenting awards than receiving them, Dauphin Fire Chief Cam Abrey received an award at Fire Rescue Canada that he is having a little trouble accepting.
At the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) in Calgary, Sept. 13 to 16, Abrey was awarded the Career Fire Chief of the Year award.
“It is an experience I will never forget. It was a real shock to learn that I had been nominated for this award, let alone being selected as a 2019 recipient. Thank you to FUS and the CAFC selection committee. I’m still in awe of having been chosen,” Abrey said, adding the award consisted of a glass trophy and $500.
“I like handing that stuff out, but during that supper I could barely eat and it was hotter than hell in there. And nobody at the table knew anything about it and these are my peers from Manitoba that I’m sitting with. I know what’s coming up and I’m thinking, I hope they name the volunteer first before they name me, because I don’t want to get up there in front of these people.”
The award, sponsored by the Fire Underwriters Survey and the CAFC, takes into account the nominee’s impact on the community and their department, innovation, mentorship and education, contribution to public safety, resource management and fund-raising, partnership and coalition development, recruitment and retention of volunteers, the diversity and inclusion in their department, contributions to health and wellness, as well as their contributions and impact at the international, national, provincial and regional levels.
Basically, the award panel is looking for attributes and accomplishments that go above and beyond the expected job description for a fire chief.
Abrey was nominated for the award by the City and RM of Dauphin.
“Thank you to the City and the RM of Dauphin for allowing me the opportunity to be the fire chief and the nomination. It is an extremely humbling feeling to know that your administration and elected officials have your back and faith in you. And it’s fantastic to have such a great working relationship,” Abrey said, adding he did not win this recognition in isolation.
“I lost my dad just over 18 years ago and it was because of the example he had set for me that I joined the fire service in the first place. I’ve always wanted to ride the big red trucks and be a firefighter, so I’m proud to say I’m a second-generation firefighter because of him. And I thank Darla and the boys. It’s family. It is so important.”