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Firefighters Honoured At Awards Night With A Twist

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The Dauphin Fire Department (DFD) handed out some awards, last Wednesday, honouring members of the department for their efforts over the years.

Fire chief Cam Abrey noted the 2020 Firefighters’ Ball and 2021 Firefighters Appreciation Evening, where the awards are usually presented, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DFD decided to take advantage of the easing of restrictions to present the awards on an evening normally set aside for training.

“Now we’re just taking one evening out of our regular training to do a catch-up on everything now that the restrictions have eased a little bit,” Abrey said.

After speeches from City of Dauphin deputy mayor Christian Laughland and RM of Dauphin Reeve Ron Ryz, the first awards presented were the Level 1 badges, which were presented to Tyler Abrey, Evan Butler, Brendan Bogoslowski, Chris Davidson, Brendan Greening and Daniel McKay.

Receiving Level 2 badges were Nathaniel Yury, Cameron Popiel, Jordan Steiner, Devin Kiesman, Sabrina Anderson, Tyler Abrey, Evan Butler and Brendan Bogoslowski.

A number of retired firefighters were recognized, as well. They were Richard Snyder, who served with the fire department for 39 years; Ryan Clyde, who served for 23 years; Stuart Sinclair, who served for 16 years; Dave Height, who served for 17 years; Marie Sorlie, who served for 13 years and is now with the Ochre River Fire Department; and David McInnes, who served for 12 years.

Five-year service awards were presented to Dave Butler and Justin Barsewsky and a 15-year service award was presented to Kevin Hollyoake.

“For somebody to stay in a rural fire department where it’s not a career for them, to hit five years is an achievement. To hit 15 years another achievement,” Abrey said.

A number of Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs Long Service Awards were also handed out. Greg Acevedo received a 25-year award; Ken Ushkowski was recognized for his 35 years of service; and Gary Hollyoake was recognized for 45 years with the Manitoba Fire Service.

Al Gray received the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Created in 1985, the medal honours members of the fire service who have completed 20 years of service, 10 of which have been served in the performance of duties involving potential risks, with bars presented for each 10-year increment of service. Gray has served with DFD for more than 40 years.

Ken Gurba, chair of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Awards Committee, was on hand to present the Exemplary Service Medal to Ray Lofgren, who served more than 20 years with EMS.

The final award presented was the Jack Carey Memorial Firefighter of the Year Award for 2020, which went to Justin Barsewsky.

“The reaction is surprised. It’s an honour. It’s great. The knowledge that we’re learning here, if you can keep passing it on, safety to kids and stuff like that. I work with a great bunch of people here. It feels good,” Barsewsky said of winning the award, adding he knew he was nominated.

Winning the award will serve as incentive for Barsewsky to continue to do his best with DFD.

“And keep on keeping on,” he added.

Abrey said it is extremely important to recognize the efforts of the firefighters.

“When they give 200 hours for Level 1 training. Another 100 hours for the next level of training. And then five years and all the other stuff, these people are the ones that are running out on birthday parties, on anniversaries, on shopping trips with the family, getting up in the middle of a restaurant having a meal with whoever and running out he door to respond to other people’s needs,” he said.

“So we know the public is always thanking the fire service. But I find it important, as the fire chief, that we recognize them, as well. We want them to know that they’re a valuable asset, not only to the community, but to us. We’re one big happy fire family. So we want to treat everybody with that level of respect that you’d like to be treated with yourself.”

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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