Canton Volunteer Firefighters, EMTs & Fire Police Gather to Celebrate & Reflect  2018…A Changing Year of Close Calls & Milestones

By | May 28, 2019

Town of Canton Fire & EMS Departmentrecently hosted an Awards Banquet to recognize the extraordinary work, service and sacrifice of its volunteer firefighters, EMTs and Fire Police, in 2018.The evening was marked with both time-honored traditions, and an embrace of the changing fire and EMS environment.

Before members of the Board of Selectmen, family and friends, Canton Town Clerk Linda Smith opened the evening by administering an Oath of Office to the Department’s volunteer members. Reverend Linda Spires provided an Invocation for the evening, which was followed by the ritual Bell Ringing Ceremony – which acknowledges the pride, esteem and respect members take in serving the community; the possible sacrifice they will have to pay in that service; and that others have already paid.

 Past Chief of Department, Wayne Goeben: The opportunity to serve as your Interim Chief, in 2018, was a truly humbling experience by which to conclude my 35 years as a volunteer firefighter. As Chief, the ultimate obligation is the safety of all involved, from patients, to our members, to the general public. These decisions are not made lightly, require thorough investigation, and frequently result in hard feelings.  A Chief will never know if one of these decisions prevented an injury or fatality. And hopefully, a Chief will never know the emotional pain of an injury or fatality because he or she was unwilling to make such a decision.

Goeben shared some key stats for 2018: Canton’s volunteer firefighters, EMTS and Fire Police responded to over 1,500 emergency calls– a milestone.  While theDepartmentsaw a continued upsurge in EMS calls, there was also a continued decline in the number of structural fires and motor vehicle accidents, requiring extrication. Although, more of these accidents resulted in vehicles catching fire. Goeben also thanked Canton’s EMS partners at Vintech Management Services;paramedics and EMTs who augment the Department’svolunteer members.

 Chief Goeben:2018 was the year of the ‘close call.’ There were three major haz mat incidents in Town: one at the Canton Transfer Station, where mixed chemicals resulted in multiple hospital transports. And two Carbon Monoxide calls, which could have had high fatality counts, but fortunately did not.

And, two alert homeowners were to be commended for acting quickly when they discovered fires in their homes; one in a dryer which had extended into the wall of the home; and the other fire on a wall tapestry which had not, as yet, extended into the rest of the residence.

Goeben concluded his remarks with an acknowledgement of the joys and sorrows of change. “OurDepartment is different than it was at the end of 2017.  Some of those changes are joyous, with the Bahre and Ouimette families welcoming new babies. While other changes, left a void in our hearts, such as the passing of long time Ladies Auxiliary member Debbie Matava and Fire Policeman Richard Zommer.”

“While the fire and EMS service is certainly different than when I first joined, what hasn’t changed is that you all are needed.  You’re needed by our community, and you’re needed by your peers.  You’re needed to back each other up, to share your knowledge, and to help our Departmentgrow, adapt to change, and prosper in the years ahead.”

And then, it was time to recognize the Department’sBest of the Best:

Rookie of the Year – Kyle Murphy

Kyle became fully certified and attained crew leader status in record time He has taken a leadership role in mentoring others, and assisting during training drills.

Firefighter of the Year – Andrew Raymond

Andrew has provided leadership in the firehouse, and sought greater responsibility both on and off the fireground.

EMT of the Year – Jayelle Hersey

Jayelle was promoted to EMS Crew Leader in 2018, and has often led training discussions with other members.  She has shared her bright, young mind with us and has a strong medical career ahead of her.

 Officer of the Year – Captain, Fire Police John Malentacchi

As a Department Officer, you are expected to respond to calls, attend training, and supportDepartmentoutreach. John consistently picked up extra tasks in 2018 and was an example to others.

Chief’s Award – Myles Angell

In the newly created role of IT Officer, Myles has enhanced the way the Department monitors, tracks and shares critical patient and incident data.

 EMS Duty Hours – Alyssa Lockwood, Willi Matava, Deputy Chief of EMS Ryan Kerr and Assistant Chief of EMS John Bunnell

Imagine showing up for Ambulance Duty at midnight on Jan 1, 2018, and then staying on continuously through July 4th– plus one more week. You would have spent over

5,000 hours on ambulance duty. Both Willi and Alyssa accomplished this milestone.

Now imagine, you stayed on duty.  From that week after July 4th,back to the next New Year’s. Day, 2019.  But still you stayed, all the way through Valentine’s Day and a week beyond.  Now, you would have accrued over 10,000 hours of EMS Duty time. Both Ryan and John were recognized for reaching this unprecedented achievement.

 Retirements  – Lowell Humphrey and Ed Korner

Both Lowell and Ed have been valued fixtures in the Departmentfor decades: 28 years for Lowell, 47 for Ed.

The evening ended with a lively Raffle of highly contested and sought after items. The Department thanks the following generous donors who provided items for the Raffle: Applegate Farm, Beauty Mark Tattooing, Cake Gypsy, Crown and Hammer, CT Auto Spa, Grindstone, LaSalle Market & Deli, NAPA Auto Parts, Saybrook Fish House, ShopRite of Cantonand Chief ofDepartmentBruce Lockwood.