What in your opinion is the purpose of the Honour Guard?
I don’t think the Honour Guard has just one purpose. I think there’s multiple purposes. I mean the obvious ones are to attend funerals and memorials, grads, pensioners’ banquets, that sort of thing, which is very important. Especially the funerals and memorials, to honour the fallen brothers and sisters, to give them the due respect that is deserved, and to represent the CFD amongst national peers in other departments, and international. We’re representing the brotherhood of the CFD, and the brothers and sisters, and to represent them on a national and international scale is another big purpose of the Honour Guard.
Why did you join the Honour Guard?
Well, the brotherhood and the camaraderie that exists within the Fire Service is the main reason why I wanted to be a Fireman in the first place. And the Honour Guard is the pinnacle of that brotherhood, the symbol of that brotherhood, right. It’s us representing our own, and my desire to represent the people that I work with, I take so much pride in the job that I do, and they do, and so to be a representative of them to the citizens of Calgary, and national and international partners, it was a big deal.
How did participation in the Honour Guard affect you?
Well, I’m still a relatively new member of the Honour Guard, so my time with the Honour Guard has been short, but just in that short period of time, to be able to experience the culture. I always kind of knew that the Brotherhood was a big thing in the Fire Service, but since joining the Honour Guard, and seeing, learning how things operate, how things are done, how important it is, and the emphasis that’s put on being a face in the public, and honouring fallen Firefighters, it’s just given me a whole new perspective and made me realise how truly important that sense of brotherhood, and that camaraderie, is.
Is there a specific event or ceremony that holds, or held, special meaning for you?
Like I said, I’m fairly new to the Honour Guard, so I haven’t been to many events, I’ve been to a couple. But I’d say that the biggest one was the funeral that was held for Ryan Bol… Bjolverud. It wasn’t a line of duty death, and I mean, some of the people there knew him, but many didn’t. But to see hundreds and hundreds of CFD members come out to pay their respects, to support the family, was just incredible. And I’ll never forget when the family came out of the church, and they put their heads up, and the first thing they saw was all the Honour Guard members, and then the hundreds and hundreds of CFD members in Number One uniform, saluting Ryan’s casket. Just the emotional outpour, it made the hair on your neck stand, and it brought a tear to a lot of the eyes of the people that were in attendance. It was really something special to see.