Rotary Club gives priceless gift of hope To First Nations Community

Town of Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn passed the keys on the donated firetruck to Wayne Brown, Deputy Fire Chief, and Lawrence Laviolette, Fire Safety Officer, from Bearskin Lakes First Nations Fire Department, Rotary Club Welland Doug Johnson right and current president Peter Papp had arranged the donation.

Town of Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn passed the keys on the donated firetruck to Wayne Brown, Deputy Chief of the Bearskin First Nations , and Lawrence Laviolette, Fire Safety Officer, from Bearskin Lakes First Nations Fire Department, Rotary Club Welland Doug Johnson right and current president Peter Papp had arranged the donation.

A First Nation’s community was given a gift of hope and safety in the form of a fire truck, during a Town of Pelham council meeting on Monday, October 5.

“I am overwhelmed by the hospitality and kindness of the people here,” said Wayne Brown, Deputy Chief of Bearskin Lakes First Nations.

Fire Safety Officer Lawrence Laviolette from Bearskin Lakes First Nations Fire Department explained how the current system was out of date and their budget was minimal for replacing vehicles. There are only ten fire hydrants in the community, and they need to use water delivery trucks to help suppress fires. The one truck they have carries a 200 gallon tank, but it is currently broke. Since it is from 1980, parts are hard to find.

“W will be able to put this to use right away in our department,” said Laviolette.

Brown shared a tragic story to emphasize how much the community needed the fire truck and how grateful they are.

When a fire broke out in a home, a little boy, around two-years-old, was stuck inside. Everyone ran to the house to help, with some trying to climb through windows and others using chainsaws to try to cut through the walls. The walls were made of tin, however, and soon the house was totally engulfed in flames.

“We lost the child,” Brown said. “We’ll have a chance now.”

Arrangements were made by the Rotary Club of Welland’s International Service Director, Doug Johnson. Johnson said they had originally looked into sending a truck to Bolivia to help the fire departments there, but realized the greater need in northern Ontario.

“Be a gift to the world,” Councillor Peter Papp, also President of the Rotary Club, said about the club’s involvement. “Give above ourselves, to those most in need.”

 


 

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