Fire Department’s Thanksgiving

 

Calmar, AB – Tables decorated with colorful fall leaves and miniature pumpkins, music in full swing by 8pm, the Calmar Legion was full of excitement, laughter and good tidings on that night...  
The First Calmar Fire Department Hoedown took place on Saturday October 6, during the Thanksgiving weekend, and by the end of the evening, the word was that it should become an annual event. Close to 130 revellers came through the doors that night, and while the party organizers had dynamically sold a respectable number of tickets, they were happy to see friends and relatives arrive and join the party.
As this is a weekend to celebrate family, it was indeed a close-knit family that planned and hosted this party.  The Chief in his handsome straw hat and plaid shirt, the lieutenant in his long duster and cowboy hat, the fire cadets in their cute western wear, two firefighters with their radios clipped to their belts, ready for action… The hosts were fun, and obviously proud to be hosting their own Thanksgiving Hoedown. A small group of colleagues chose this particular party to “bond” and create lasting friendships: Sean Lowes, an AKITA Drilling operations manager, enjoyed the company of three colleagues and their friends: Cheryl Bearchell, Jessica Sutter and Emily Hopkins seemed to appreciate the band and the fun ambiance, and perhaps (?) hoped to ‘recruit’ a few souls into their Oil & Gas roster; their friends hailed from Leduc, Calmar, Tofield and Gwynn, and they were quite a friendly group! 
One little group was celebrating a proud family tradition of firefighting.  New Leduc County homeowner (a home Reno specialist) and Calmar firefighter Jeremy Eigenbrood found his love of firefighting as a small kid: he rode often in a firetruck rushing to a fire call with his grandpa, who was the Fire Chief of Frankfurt Ontario, the small town he grew up in. Jeremy’s dad Marty was also a volunteer firefighter in that same town. Jeremy and his lovely wife Amanda are raising a son and a daughter, and they tell cute stories of how their kids react with excitement when they hear a fire alarm in the distance: they know that dad works on firetrucks, and they are proud of Dad’s “other job”. This is what some would call “early recruitment and training”! 
Chris Hayduk is a recent recruit and in fact, a well-trained firefighter: he was a fire cadet throughout his high school years in Calmar, then life and employment took him away for ten years (!!).  He now resides and works in Calmar, and was warmly welcomed back into this fire crew! It is easy to see that the sense of family has touched even the latest recruits, now an integral part of this firefighting team.
A sweet ‘older’ gentleman stayed at the party till late, when the ‘young ones’ started slowing down: Mr. Alexander Beitz is the father of Mae Fedor, a well-known and giving Calmar resident.  He is 93 years young, was quite articulate in sharing that he is a WWII veteran and that he used to be a multilingual translator.  He spoke a few words of French and had quite a string of visitors at his table.  
An attractive “Photo booth” occupied a corner, colorfully adorned with straw bales, birch trunks, deer antlers and pumpkins: it was popular and many fun moments were enjoyed in that spot!  The three-piece band of 4’S A CROWD was lively and very talented: the dance floor was busy, at every one of their musical numbers… Young firefighters walked through the banquet hall throughout the night, doing a fine job of selling 50/50 tickets. 
Calmar Fire Chief Tim Blackmore brought his fire crew members up, one by one, to be introduced to the guests, and that was a touching moment.  The function had no formal tone: the casual and upbeat theme, the excellent music and the plentiful midnight snack made this night a memorable, wonderful party. This well-planned event was created to bring awareness to this community-serving department, and also to raise funds for one of three short-term goals, yet to be decided upon: a new intercom for their fire trucks ($7,000), a Fire Prevention Education trailer (approximately $17,000) or a set of new rescue tools, to replace the 25-year-old equipment the department now owns…($25G-$60G)! Of course, fundraising efforts will be added to grants and available funds, so we look forward to the next fundraising Party!
The topic of “The Friends of the Calmar Fire Dept.” came up a few times, reminding guests that when it’s time to fundraise, plan and host a party or participate in other awareness events, a fire department is lucky to have spouses, kids, parents and friends to help and constantly support. As shared by Captain Ken Behiel and his wife Darlene, “this is the way these individuals contribute to their community: if they can’t serve on the fire department, their eager and dynamic support becomes one of the department’s most valuable assets”, one that the Calmar Fire department seems to have plenty of, by the look and feel of this successful Fire Department Hoedown.
 
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