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County of Brant fire department honours fallen firefighters

County of BrantCounty of Brant fire department honours fallen firefighters

The County of Brant fire department held a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 to honour and pay tribute to firefighters Troy Cummerson and Dave Monkhouse on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Cummerson first became a volunteer firefighter with the Cainsville station in 2000, eventually moving up to District Chief before later becoming a career firefighter with the City of Brantford. He passed away from cancer in 2018 in his 50th year.

Monkhouse was also a long-time career firefighter and member of the prevention division for the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services. He later became a volunteer firefighter and District Chief of the Cainsville station. Monkhouse passed from cancer at 52, just one year after Cummerson.

“People often ask us what the difference is between career and volunteer,” said Wade Cummerson, Station 4 Captain and brother of Troy. “That answer is simple because there is no difference. We fight the fires the same, we drive the same type of trucks and we wear the same type of gear. The only difference is we do it on our own time. We’re not there at a station 24 hours a day, we go when we’re needed.”

Current members of the County of Brant Cainsville Fire Station #4, friends, family and visiting firefighters pay their respects during a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Fittingly held on International Firefighters Day, the ceremony was also held in memory for past station members Mike Couperus, Larry Brown, Roger Tottle, Murray Thompson and Harold Rutherford.

Current members of Station #4, friends, family and visiting firefighters all bowed their heads to pay respect as Lisa Herbert, a County of Brant firefighter, kicked off the event with the Firefighter’s Prayer.

Wade Cummerson, Station 4 Captain, speaks about tradition during a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Wade then took to the podium to speak about tradition. He said that while many fire service traditions are changing and evolving, there are many that remain the same including honouring those who have come before them and the comradery that is formed between firefighters.

He said that being a part of the fire service is like being part of a family; that often times, many volunteer firefighters are real life family members and that they’ve joined because of a close relation who has done so before them.

“One of our oldest traditions in the fire service is family. We recognize each other as family when we’re here, call each other brother and sister and treat each other like family,” he said.

Cainsville firefighters pay their respects to Troy Cummerson and DaveMonkhouse during a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

During the event, David Bailey, Mayor for the County of Brant, MP Larry Brock, MPP Will Bouma, Cindy Stevenson, General Manager for the Brant Emergency and Protective Services, Brant Fire Chief Darren Watson and past Cainsville District Chief Allan Carver all made speeches to extend their condolences.

“Today, we gather to dedicate this monument to the brave members of the fire department who have made sacrifices to serve their communities,” said Watson. “As we stand before this symbol of remembrance, let us reflect on the selflessness, courage and unwavering dedication that define the firefighting profession. These individuals who we honour today, exemplify the noblest qualities of humanity. They left their families, hobbies and places of employment to rush towards danger when others sought safety; answering the call to protect and serve without hesitation.”

Brant Fire Chief Darren Watson, speaks about honouring their fellow firefighters during a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Watson continued on by saying that each name on the plaque serves as a reminder to the legacy and commitment of those who have come before.

“Each name etched on a plaque and placed onto this stone, represents a life dedicated to the preservation of others, a commitment to serve, and a legacy of sacrifice that will forever endure,” he said. “Though their time with us was brief, their spirit lives on in countless lives they saved, the communities they served and the bonds of camaraderie they forged. Today, we not only pay tribute to their memory, but we also reaffirm our solemn promise to carry forward their legacy, dignity and honour. Let this monument serve as a reminder of the profound depth we owe to those that have given up their time to serve their community as firefighters.”

Past Cainsville District Chief Allan Carver, thanks attendees for paying their respects during a dedication ceremony at the Cainsville Fire Station #4 on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Following the speeches, Pat Cummerson and her third son (who has also served as a firefighter) Corey Cummerson, laid a memorial wreath in front of the monument as the flag was lowered to half-mast.

Before wrapping up, Dave Cummerson said that with the help of new programs, he hopes that they can work to limit the number of line-of-duty deaths, including those lost to occupational cancers.

“We hope to reduce the number of names that are line-of-duty deaths by new programs that we’ve introduced for cleaning firefighters gear and for cleaning our firefighters after calls to help prolong life after our career in the fire service,” he said.

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