Health Foundation Honours Fire/EMS Department


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Members of Niverville Fire and EMS. Brad Wasilinchuk

The Niverville Health and Community Foundation and Niverville Fire and Emergency Services partnered to throw their second annual gala on Friday, March 2 at the Heritage Centre. The evening was emceed by George Sawatzky, Health Foundation treasurer, and Jason Hudson of Niverville Fire and Emergency Services.

“This was the second year the Fire and Emergency Services teamed up to help raise awareness and money for the Niverville Health and Community Foundation,” says Chief Keith Bueckert. “The foundation has done so much for the community and we enjoy helping them out.”

One highlight of the evening was the Health Foundation’s gift of $7,000 to Niverville Fire and Emergency Services, a gift which has since been used to purchase new automated external defibrillators (AED).

“The gift we received was to replace two aging defibrillators we have on our rescue [vehicle] and engine for medical calls,” says Bueckert. “Not to alarm anyone—the two AEDs we had were still in good order.”

Bueckert explains that the pads used by transporting paramedics were not compatible with the older defibrillators. So when a patient had to be transported via ambulance, the pads had to be removed from the patient’s chest before they could be hooked up to the ambulance monitor. The new AEDs thus allow for the seamless transfer of patients. They will also give first responders more information about the patient’s condition, allowing them to help with early treatment with medication they carry on their truck.

The new AEDs were purchased through Aim for Life, a Niverville-based company that specializes in first aid and CPR training.

Many awards were given out over the course of the evening for members of the department who have served five, ten, 15, and 20 years respectively. Deputy Chief Stanford Hiebert and Captain Spencer Hunt were recognized for their 15 years of service, and Lieutenant Greg Funk was recognized for his 20 years.

Ten-year medals were awarded to Lieutenant Dave Aitken and firefighters Mary Admiraal, Marc Bergen, James Woytowich, and Mike Friesen. Deputy Chief Brad Wasilinchuk; firefighters Peter Bowyer, Tara Fehr, and Garrett Hawgood; and emergency medical responders Tyler Neufeld, Dan Horne, and Jodie Rempel received five-year medals.

Most impressive of all, Gary Macdonald was presented an award for 50 long years of service to fire departments in Manitoba, including ten in Niverville, where he is an honorary member. Chief Bueckert and former Chief Ferd Klassen both spoke at length about Macdonald’s many contributions to the department over this period.

Macdonald’s award, which is so rare that the province had to specially devise it, was presented by Manitoba Fire Commissioner Dave Schafer on behalf of the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

Macdonald also received a second special award from John Lane, Chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. Both awards have been created recently to honour individuals who have served for exceptionally long periods of time.

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