By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
For Oshawa Fire Services, it was a time to honour those who have given their lives to protecting the community. For the retirees, it was a chance to remember all the good times had over the course of a career in firefighting.
On May 16, OFS held a ceremony to honour a group of retiring members who, combined, have given approximately 130 years of service to the City of Oshawa.
Retiring members included platoon chief Tim Irvine, Jim Moss, captain Carmelo Reitano, Tim Brown and Brian Lansfield.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to honour them, the members that have come before us and given so much to this community,” says Peter Dyson, president of the Oshawa Professional Firefighters Association.
For Irvine, who retired near the end of 2017, he says there is a small part of him that misses the job, especially when he sees the fire trucks passing his home with sirens flashing.
“You know exactly what’s going through their heads. I spent, myself, almost 35 years there, so it’s almost half your life in the fire services, so it’s not like you can put it away,” he says.
Despite that, he’s enjoying his retirement and being able to spend more time with his family. He says it’s hard to try and summarize his lengthy career, but many memories came flooding back during the luncheon he says.
“Today, when I look around the room, all the stories start coming back, it’s kind of like a trigger, some of the calls, the good times we had,” he says.
In terms of memorable calls, Irvine says the train derailment in June 2009 is one that always sticks out in his mind.
For all of the retirees, it culminates a series of careers, each of which span three decades with the City of Oshawa and OFS. For Dyson, seeing such lengthy careers is not such a rare thing in firefighting.
“I think in this line of work, we do it because we love it and are passionate about it and these people just want to give back after their career,” he says.
And they get many chances to do just that.
“We try to keep in touch with them,” Dyson says. “We love to keep them engaged and come out to different charity events, social events, they’re the ones who built this association and we want to keep them in it.”