A sold-out Protective Services Gala in Martensville last weekend honoured those who put their lives on the line to serve their community.
Organized by the Martensville Fire Department (MFD) and the Martensville RCMP detachment, the event at the North Ridge Centennial Community Centre on Saturday, October 21, signalled the return of the celebration after an absence of several years.
It also marked a bittersweet milestone for the MFD’s longest-serving member, Steve Smith. After 40 years, Smith is hanging up his bunker gear.
“Tonight we want to honour one of our members,” said Martensville Fire Chief Kurtis Dyck. “And to say goodbye to the last original member of the Martensville Fire Department.
“In 1977, Steve Smith was part of a small group that saw the need for a fire department in our growing community.
“Over the next forty years, with the help of Steve and members like him, the fire department evolved from a one-bay, one-truck fire hall to the well-equipped department that it is today.”
Dyck said Smith has been an “outstanding member” of the fire department who has dedicated many hours of service to his community as a firefighter, first responder and mentor.
“It’s people like Steve who make our community a better place to live.”
Dyck presented Smith with an original, old-style MFD helmet as a token of their appreciation, and members of the MFD lined up to shake Smith’s hand and wish him well.
Martensville Deputy Fire Chief Dean Brooman noted that Kurtis Dyck had received a 25-year protective services medal earlier this fall from the province’s Lieutenant-Governor.
RCMP Sergeant Chris Cisecki explained that the symbolic table of honour at the front of the hall was aimed at honouring those members of the protective services who had lost their lives in the line of duty. A minute of silence was held to remember their sacrifice.
The event drew members of area fire departments, police service, paramedics, military and other branches of protective services. Martensville EMO Coordinator Tracy Wilson-Gerwing and MFD firefighter James Taylor were the main organizers of the celebration. Young members of the 574 Dakota Air Cadet Squadron volunteered as helpers at the gala.
Funds raised from the event will be used to purchase equipment and fund educational programs by the fire department.