On Thursday, June 15th, the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst honoured each of three divisions of local first responders. Three times a year, the club asks the Paramedics, OPP and Fire Departments to nominate worthy recipients of recognition for going above and beyond what might normally be expected of the responder. This includes the volunteers, administration and anyone considered part of their team! Committee member John Cooper welcomed, introduced and congratulated each of the responders present.
The nominee gets to choose a charity where a donation of $100 is made in their name. Bryan Graham, chair of the First Responders Recognition Committee also presents a special Challenge Coin, with the name of the award and the philosophies of Rotary, including “service above self”.
Chief Jared Cayley of the Gravenhurst Fire Department recognized Ms. Jackie McFarlane for her dedication as the Administration Assistant to the Chief. Chief Cayley detailed how Jackie really meant so much to the whole department, including even looking after them by preparing and providing food at all hours. She makes efforts to keep morale high and is considered the “heartbeat” of the Fire Department; for example, she arranges Christmas gifts for each of the children of firefighters. She makes herself available one night a week for concerns by firefighters. She is the first face for new recruits, and is an integral part of “take your partner to work” day, recognizing the sacrifices the family of first responders make. She is called “awesome” by many and has worked for the department for 17 years with three chiefs. Chief Cayley emphasized how Jackie works WITH, rather than FOR them. Jackie is the “gatekeeper” for payroll and benefit packages, and Chief Cayley says she keeps the Chief in line re budgets!
$100 was given to Gravenhurst Against Poverty in Jackie’s name.
Deputy Chief Stuart McKinnon of the Muskoka Paramedic Services recognized administrative staff member Mike Sanders. On top of administrative duties, Mike has Community Relations responsibilities, including education and awareness; for example, teaching how to respond to emergencies. He oversees CPR and awareness courses to nurses and doctors even. Mike performs school visits as well! Incredibly, Mike has been able to gather a team of volunteer paramedics post pandemic, when this task has proven especially challenging. Mike has been with the Muskoka Paramedic Services one year but has already had a huge impact!
$100 was given to Save our Scruff in Mike’s name.
Inspector Jason Nickle, Detachment Commander, with Bracebridge OPP had a special recognition for Constable Dan Kean. He was awarded the St. John’s Ambulance Lifesaving Award from his service with the Toronto Police after an incident where he medically assisted and saved the life of a victim of severe self-inflicted wounds. Constable Kean has been with our local OPP just since March but has again demonstrated “service above self” here by identifying and apprehending an individual responsible for a “Grandparent Scam”. Dan received the call from the victim and chose to go to her home to await the arrival of the scammer and he arranged other units to be present to assist in the arrest. His actions also resulted in the recovery of a large sum of cash that had been taken from other victims. The individual responsible was also wanted in other detachment areas and provinces across Canada. Dan was joined by his wife Victoria and 12-day old son, Walter for the presentation! $100 was given to SickKids Foundation in Dan’s name.
Our community is fortunate to have these exceptional individuals who have chosen challenging professions but who continue to demonstrate service above self. Thank you!
Submitted by Kathryn McGill
Rotary Club of Gravenhurst