Editor's note: the following article, including additional photos, appeared in the May 8, 2012 print edition of The Compass.
A new feeling of energy and enthusiasm has returned to the Green's Harbour/Hopeall volunteer fire department, and it was clearly on display during an upbeat and entertaining firefighters' ball at the Community Centre (former Lions Club) on April 28.
Some 120-plus people came out for the event, making it the most successful firefighters' ball in the community in recent memory.
Last year's event attracted just under three dozen people, and prior to that, a ball hadn't been held for many years.
A renewed commitment to training, details of which were spelled out for those in attendance, is further proof that the brigade is committed to providing the best possible fire protection to its citizens.
There's also plenty of hype about a new emergency paging system that will see the brigade partner with neighbouring departments in Cavendish-Whiteway (Trinity South Central) and Heart's Delight-Islington. Currently, calls for service are made to individual firefighters.
Among those heaping praise on the Green's Harbour/Hopeall department was Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Charlene Johnson.
She applauded the department for its efforts, and commended their willingness to work with neighbouring departments on the purchase and use of a new paging system.
The brigades will share an emergency number, and be in a better position to provide mutual aid, should the need arise.
"One pager system for the region ... will mean better service," Johnson stated.
When it comes to funding requests from the provincial government, she said "co-operation goes to the top of the list."
There were plenty of light moments, with Chief Aaron Hillier drawing a few laughs when he accepted his firefighter of the year plaque. Hillier's leadership and commitment has been credited with helping bolster the brigade.
He thanked the spouses of the brigade members, and reminded citizens of the "vast amounts of time" that goes into running the department.
He also raved about the establishment of a new community centre in Green's Harbour, saying it has opened new opportunities for fundraising and social events.
The centre is located at the former Lions Club, and is now administered by the Green's Harbour Local Service District, in partnership with the Lions Club and the fire department.
The fire department can now stage meetings and other activities at the centre. As a result, improvements can now be carried out at the fire hall in order to better accommodate the brigade's equipment.
Hillier also expressed gratitude to members of the Local Service District, which is chaired by Rosemary Whiteway.
"They have been a big help," said Hillier.
The evening also included a tribute to former firefighter Richard Brace, who died following a brutal beating in Carbonear in late June 2005.
A memorial plaque was accepted by Richard's father, Heber Brace. Richard's firefighting helmet and jacket were also on display.
The emotional tribute brought tears to those who knew Richard, who was an enthusiastic member of the brigade.
About the Green's Harbour/Hopeall fire department:
• Established - 1976;
• Membership - 14, including two females;
• Training - Monday nights;
• Leadership - Chief Aaron Hillier, 1st assistant chief Keith March, 2nd assistant chief Justin Wareham, fire capt. Mark Wareham;
• Equipment - 2006 firefighting tanker truck (1,500 gallons); also received a grant for the purchase of a new 18 hp portable pump;
• Emergency contact - call to a firefighter, but plans underway to purchase regional paging system;
• Coverage area - Green's Harbour (some 300 households) and Hopeall (some 100 households);
• Operating funds - homeowners pay $70 annually, while businesses are charged anywhere from $200 to $500.