Editor's note: the following was first published in the Nov. 6 print edition of The Compass
The Brigus Volunteer Fire Brigade capped off a successful years at its annual firefighters' ball at the Royal Canadian Legion in Brigus on Oct. 27.
The horrid weather outside could not affect the atmosphere inside, as firefighters mingled with the likes of Liberal MP Scott Andrews, Harbour Main MHA Tom Hedderson, Grand Falls-WindsorChief Vince McKenzie and members of nearby Bay de Grave Regional Fire Department.
Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway - also a firefighter -said the town is proud to have "such an active fire department."
It's a vivacious group of dedicated men who spend countless hours fundraising throughout the year and giving back to their community, through events such as the Blueberry Festival and others.
Last April, the brigade served some 380 plates of fish n'brewis on Good Friday.
Two weeks prior to the Oct. 14 Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation telethon, the brigade set up a toll booth in the community, and ended up donating more than $1,400 to the cause.
"People don't realize the work that you do," said Hedderson. "You are always on the job.
"It's been another successful year."
Andrews echoed similar sentiments.
"Thanks for everything that you do," he said. "I, for one, sleep a little better at night."
Chief Rodney Mercer told the attendees the brigade responded to a dozen calls over the last 12 months, and had eight practices.
"For a small brigade, we're not doing too bad," he said.
The Brigus brigade is comprised of 20 members and three honorary firefighters.
In memory of David
On a sad note, the Brigus brigade suffered a loss in its ranks, with longtime firefigher David Percy passing away on Nov. 26, 2011.
Mercer started off his address with a moment of silence for his fallen comrade. After, Mercer told a story about David that involved the St. John's Maple Leafs, a Molson booth and a Labatt Blue shirt.
"He'll be missed," Mercer said.
Mark Jerrett is the newest member of the brigade, having completed his certification course a week before the ball.
The announcement made by Mercer was in good timing based on the words spoken by Mayor Byron Rodway and guest speaker Vince McKenzie.
Rodway said a concern for the fire department was recruitment.
"It seems like the young people are not as interested," he said.
Rodway preached a renewed commitment by the department to bolstering its ranks.
McKenzie, who's family partly originates in Brigus, called new blood in the fire department the best resource going forward.
He called firefighters the most important people in the community.
"'Sitting around you here tonight in their uniforms, they are the most valuable asset in your community and the communities that they serve," said McKenzie.
Member of the Brigus Volunteer Fire Brigade:
• Gary Spooner, Byron Rodway, Bill King, Tony Pritchard, Blair Mercer, Fred Williams, Brandon Evans, Tommy Ryan, Peter Maher, Dave King, Barry England, Ken Broughton, Junior Mercer, Chief Rodney Mercer, Dave Barrett, Denzil Norman, Mark Jerrett, George Fry, Tom Ryan and Graham Hiscock.
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary:
• Pauline Mercer, Cythia White, Raelene Wall, Wendy Spooner, Heather Camp, Marie King, Nicole Spracklin, Nina Norman, Vivian Fry, Betty Carter, Renee Williams, Marilyn Spracklin, Theresa Fewer, Lisa Canning, Beverly Skanes, President Ethel King, Pauline King, Cynthia Rose, Amanda Roberts and Cindy Hiscock.