West Perth's senior of year recognized by council, WPFD colleagues
Rev. William Ney was presented the 2022 West Perth Senior of the Year Award last week during a brief ceremony at West Perth's municipal council meeting.

The chaplain for the West Perth Fire Department, Ney's efforts to assist the firefighters, their families and others in the community did not go unnoticed, especially during the two weeks of the search for a missing 10-year-old girl who fell through the ice at Whirl Creek in March. The Ontario Senior of the Year Award is given by a municipality to recognize an outstanding senior who, after the age of 65, enriches social culture and civic life of the community, said West Perth Mayor Walter McKenzie, who noted that Ney fits this description.

West Perth/Perth East fire Chief Bill Hunter, through McKenzie, said Ney had "integrated seamlessly" into the fire department team since moving to Mitchell and West Perth.

"Mental health is just as important as physical health," McKenzie said, "especially for those who have encountered stressful and traumatic situations as first responders do."

Ney, in his brief address, said he wanted to say thank you to council and colleagues for this "unexpected honour."

"For my whole life, especially my working life, I've sought to be support for people ... during some of the most difficult times," he said. "I consider this a tremendous honour to be able to serve the West Perth Fire Department."
He took a moment to thank Hunter, Station Chief Jim Tubb and Deputy Station Chief Ken Monden for their support, not to mention the captains, many of whom were in attendance in the council chambers for the presentation, and the entire West Perth Fire Department family.

He particularly wanted to thank Tubb and Monden "who roped me into this, but didn't leave me hanging. They've been there every step of the way to be supportive." Capt. Mike Montgomery and Ney recently took special peer support training that the pair have helped incorporate into the West Perth department.

"We hope that we will be able to keep our firefighters mentally healthy and ready to go. The job involves more than fires. I do a lot of work with family members when there's some struggles," Nev said.

"Thank you again for this wonderful award ... it's totally unexpected, and I hope I can live up to your expectations," he said.


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