Uxbridge council thanks longest-serving firefighter

Uxbridge council thanks longest-serving firefighter
By Moya Dillion
Uxbridge Times Journal
Link to article: Uxbridge council thanks longest-serving firefighter

Ron Bell retirement

Councillors had a big thank you for fire Capt. Ron Bell, the township’s longest-serving firefighter.

Capt. Bell, a second-generation firefighter, recently retired from the Uxbridge Fire Department after 45 years of service.

“How does a municipality adequately say thank you to a resident who has committed 45 years of their life to the Uxbridge Fire Department?” asks Uxbridge Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor during a presentation on Nov. 27.

“Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that question, but what I can say is that those years of service are greatly appreciated. It’s not easy being an emergency responder, especially in a small town where you know so many people. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for you on occasions. I also want to recognize the sacrifice and commitment your family has made over the years. We sincerely thank you and wish you many years of good health.”

Fire Chief Phil Alexander also had some words of thanks for Capt. Bell.

“Ron joined the fire service on March 7, 1972 and I’m told by other residents who were in high school then that they could hear the fire siren, and soon after they could also hear Ron running through the halls to respond,” he said, noting the previous longest-serving firefighter was Chief Norm James, who retired in 1993 after 42 years of service.

“In March of 2014 Ron toppled that,” Chief Alexander said. “By my estimation it will be 2052 before any of our current staff will be able to challenge Ron’s tenure.”

Chief Alexander was also honoured during the presentation for 30 years of service.

“It doesn’t seem possible that 30 years have passed since firefighter Bill Graham asked you if you would like to join the fire department,” said Mayor O’Connor, noting Chief Alexander was working in the township’s parks department at the time.

“Thank you on behalf of residents, staff and council members for your dedication and commitment over the past 30 years. It’s greatly appreciated and we look forward to your continued guidance and leadership.”

Mayor O’Connor also had words of praise for the entire fire department, with most of the members gathered in council chambers for the presentation.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you,” she said.

“Uxbridge is so fortunate to have such a great fire department. The residents are so fortunate to have you and to be able to have the services you so readily provide, so a huge thank you to all of you.”

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