Nova Scotia

'Strong brotherhood': fire department travels to Cape Breton to say thanks

Members of the Smith's Cove volunteer fire department in southwest Nova Scotia arrived in Cape Breton Tuesday bearing gifts. They were in Reserve MInes to personally thank members of the volunteer fire department for their kindness this month.

Reserve Mines fire department pulled out of $5K contest this month to let Smith's Cove win

Joshua Snyder, the chief of the Smith's Cove fire department, is in Cape Breton to thank members of the Reserve Mines department for their kindness. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Members of the Smith's Cove volunteer fire department in southwest Nova Scotia arrived in Cape Breton Tuesday bearing gifts.

They were in Reserve Mines to personally thank members of that community's volunteer fire department for their kindness this month.

The Reserve Mines Fire Department withdrew from a provincial photo contest for fire departments, allowing Smith's Cove, which has struggled for funding, to win the $5,000 grand prize.

Joshua Snyder, the fire chief in Smith's Cove, met with Reserve Mines Chief Jeff Aucoin. Snyder said they are a small department and winning the contest was very important.

"I don't want it to be just for us, I want it to be for the entire fire service," said Snyder. "Most of us are a small department fighting in a big department world and we all need help."

This photo by Sean Francis was running away with the contest, but Reserve Mines decided to stand down and let another department win. (Submitted by Reserve Mines)

Aucoin said theirs was an important gesture that reflects the bond firefighters have.

"We can be a neighbouring department down the road or another department in another province, we all try to stick together and support each other," said Aucoin.

Aucoin said the department has received very positive comments from around the world on the contest, which was sponsored by AA Munro Insurance, and the outcome.

Bradley O'Neil, a member of the Smith's Cove fire department, is happy to get new equipment. (George Mortimer/CBC)

The Smith's Cove department will spend the winnings on new protective gear. Bradley O'Neil, who recently joined the fire department, said he's happy to get up-to-date equipment.

"The expired gear is a little less safe," said O'Neil. "It's better going in with new gear."

The Reserve MInes department is hosting a reception Tuesday for the Smith's Cove visitors. Snyder said his department brought a thank-you card signed by all the members, fresh Digby scallops and one very special gift for Aucoin.

"We found an old helmet and one of our members made a mount, and we have a plaque here and we decided to make Reserve Mines Fire Department honorary members of our fire department for life," Snyder said.

"The point is to show that we are really grateful for what they did for us, and to show the strong brotherhood from one end of the province to the other."

Aucoin said his department will enter the contest again next year. Snyder said they will encourage other departments in their area to go for the win.

Snyder holds a helmet mounted for the Reserve Mines department, a gesture of thanks. (George Mortimer/CBC)


George Mortimer is a longtime reporter in Cape Breton.


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