New Brunswick

Tobique First Nation opens new building to centralize emergency services

Tobique First Nation held a grand opening ceremony for the Trevor Francis Memorial Emergency Services Centre on Thursday. 

Holds a grand opening ceremony for Trevor Francis Memorial Emergency Services Centre

Tobique First Nation held a grand opening ceremony for the Trevor Francis Memorial Emergency Services Centre on Thursday. (Logan Perley/ CBC)

Tobique First Nation held a grand opening ceremony Thursday for a new emergency services centre dedicated to a community leader.

The new Trevor Francis Memorial Emergency Services Centre combines the Wolastoqey community's emergency services into one building, which serves roughly 1,600 people.

"We're very pleased with the result," said Tobique First Nation Chief Ross Perley. "The spirit of the building is to save lives."

The building is now home to the Tobique Fire Department as well as the local Ambulance New Brunswick and Royal Canadian Mounted Police stations.

"It was a lifelong dream of Trevor's for many, many years to have the three services put together from the time he was fire chief, and then became a paramedic," said Ruth Francis, wife of the late Trevor Francis. 

Ruth Francis said she felt "very emotional" to see her late husband honoured in his community with the building named in his memory. (Logan Perley/CBC)

Trevor Francis died in a car accident in 2010. He was the former fire chief of the Tobique Fire Department, as well as a former police officer and paramedic in the community.

"It was always something that he wanted to do, to have the emergency services building built," Francis said. She worked alongside her husband as a paramedic in the community. 

"When I was a rookie councillor he would come to my office at the old band office and this is what he would talk about," Perley said.

"He was the advocate for this building. Always was. He wasn't satisfied with the existing facilities that we had, he thought we could do better," Perley said. "And he was right."

Perley said that through leasing agreements with the RCMP and Ambulance NB, as well as donations and fundraising, the building was finally able to be built.

Chief Ross Perley said Trevor Francis approached him when he was a "rookie councilor" about developing a new EMS building for the Wolastoqey community. He finally was able to see it through years later in Francis' memory. (Logan Perley/CBC)

"I received a call from Chief Ross probably a year or so ago, he told me that the chief and council had decided that they would like to name the building after Trevor and ask how me and the kids felt about that," Francis said. "We were very honoured."

Tobique First Nation fire chief Jason Moulton said that centralizing all the emergency services into one building is an important step to better serving the community.

"Before, I felt like the emergency services weren't really working together because we were all separated." Moulton said. "Now that we were combined in one building it's a lot better for us and we'll all be able to work together as one."

Trevor Francis died in a car accident in 2010. His father Leo was in attendance at the grand opening Thursday. (Logan Perley/CBC)

Moulton has been a firefighter for 27 years in the community, 20 of those years as the fire chief. He said that Francis always saw something in him and told him that one day he would be the man to wear the fire chief helmet.

"I told him, no, I will never be able to fill his shoes or the position for his fire chief," Moulton said. "He said 'no, I see it in you, you will take my position, my place as time goes on.'"

"[Trevor] would be proud of the job that Jason is doing today," Ruth Francis said.

Tobique Fire Department fire chief Jason Moulton said that filling Trevor Francis' shoes as the fire chief was something he had never seen himself doing, but Francis did. (Logan Perley/CBC )

Moulton said he feels good seeing Francis' name on the building and it is a reminder to him of his mentor when he needs guidance as the leader of the fire brigade.

"It's a good feeling and I know Trevor is up there smiling down at us," Moulton said. "I know that he will still continue to guide me to the way I have to go with my firefighters." 

Moulton said that Francis was a real fixture in the community.

"He was always outgoing, easygoing, and he loved people. He loved to teach people, and he was always out there to try to save lives," Moulton said. "There's no words to describe how [important] Trevor was to this community."

Moulton said the community owes a debt of gratitude to his team of firefighters. 

"Plenty of thanks to the guys and girls that dedicate their lives for the reserve because they do it day in and day out and it wasn't for them, this building wouldn't be a success," Moulton said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Perley is a Wolastoqi journalist from Tobique First Nation and a reporter at CBC New Brunswick. You can email him at logan.perley@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter @LoganPerley.

now