SOUTH RIVER, N.L. — The Bay de Grave Volunteer Fire Department have paid tribute to one of their own.
Frank Bishop Jr. was a longstanding member of the Bay de Grave Volunteer Fire Dept., and one who had a strong impact on those around him wherever he went.
This was no more evident than Thursday evening, May 18, when family and friends of Bishop gathered at the brigade’s fire hall to celebrate the decision to name the hall’s meeting room after Bishop, who died in a plane crash in May of 2010.
The evening event saw a few dozen people representing local communities such as Cupids, South River, and Clarke’s Beach, as well as members – both past and present – of the brigade, join together to remember Bishop and the work he put into the lives of his fellow firefighters, and the brigade as a whole.
Patrick Mackey, vice-chair of the Bay de Grave Regional Service Board, said the decision to name the meeting room after Bishop came as a means of respecting the dedication Bishop had to the brigade, and also as a way to remember someone who was nothing short of a dear friend to many people.
Mackey also explained that Bishop played a major role in the layout of the brigade’s current building, located in South River just before the turn toward Brigus and Cupids.
“Frankie was a member of the brigade from the town of Cupids, and also a member of (the Bay de Grave Regional Service Board),” Mackey said. “When we first started out, he was instrumental in bringing Cupids on board with the four other towns – North River, Clarke’s Beach, South River, and Makinsons. We became five-strong thanks to the efforts of that man, and ultimately had more lobbying power.
“He had a lot of knowledge, and could make anything happen. We felt, as a board, that we should do something to recognize the contributions Frankie made. It just felt right.”
Throughout the evening, several people took the opportunity to speak to the crowd about their memories of Bishop and the impact he had on their life. One such person was James Edmunds, current chief of the Bay de Grave department.
Edmunds fought back tears as he reminisced on his fond memories of Bishop, noting that without Bishop’s strong passion for his community and his brigade, Edmunds would not be the firefighter he is today.
“Me and Frank became the best of friends here in the department,” said Edmunds. “I remember him coming to us and telling us about this very building.
“He was always trying to convince us that this was the direction we should be going as a department – he knew it was the way to go. It was a great success, and I’m proud of where we’ve come over the years, and I know he would be too. He was my best friend.”
At the end of the event it was Bishop’s two children – Cassandra and Gregory, who are both brigade members — unveiled the new plaque leading into the meeting room.