To me, the purpose of the Honour Guard is to be the Calgary Fire Department’s ceremonial unit. So, basically they represent the Fire Department, and all of its members, at select functions such as funerals, or promotional banquets, or memorial services. Remembrance Day, things like that. So it’s kind of a group, I don’t want to say elite, but it’s a group of people who put a little bit more effort into their drill, and dress, and deportment. They use that to represent the Fire Department in the best way that they can, in a little bit smaller of a group.
Why did you join the Honour Guard?
Well, I have some military experience, I served for 4 years with the Canadian forces, and in that service you’re very indoctrinated into that drill, dress, deportment. Just that honour and respect for the uniform and what it represents, and the respect that you have for the members that wore it before you. So I just really had that drive when I left the military. Then when I got on with the Fire Department and saw that there was a chance to kind of live that again and represent someone, and a uniform, that was bigger than myself, it was kind of a calling to serve. It was something I saw worth volunteering my time for.
Tell me how being a part of the Honour Guard has changed you.
It’s definitely given me an appreciation for what we do. You know, being a junior member in the Fire Department, you don’t really see the big picture as far as the International Firefighters Association is concerned, and just being able to attend different functions and funerals for other departments, and just to see the overall expanse of the Brotherhood has definitely given me a respect for that sense of community, and like I said, brotherhood, that kind of comes from being a Firefighter. You know, I’m definitely enjoying, and being proud of, being able to represent that.
Tell me about a specific event or ceremony that holds special meaning for you.
Having not been in the Honour Guard for quite a year, I haven’t attended too, too many events. However I’d have to say the most memorable that I’ve been to was the funeral for Constable Woodall of the Edmonton Police Service. Myself and a few other of the Guard members went up and attended the service, and we did a mass march through the City, and it was basically every Emergency Services unit was represented there. There was RCMP, military, Fire Departments from around the province, and there was approximately 8,000 uniformed members that marched through the streets of Edmonton for about an hour before we went to the place of where his service was. It was pretty amazing to see that many people come together in support for a fallen brother, that really kind of held a special place for me.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Not that I can think of. I’m definitely enjoying my experience in the Honour Guard, and I look forward to being able to represent the Fire Department for many years to come.
Very nice. So, my last question for you will be, can you think of any other moments in your time with your peers in the Honour Guard, anything that brings a smile to your face? Or a bit of a laugh, you know?
Well, definitely doing the Stampede Parade was a memorable experience as well. I got to carry a flag as a junior member of the Honour Guard. It was fun walking down, walking downtown, with just thousands of Calgarians there cheering you on and supporting the Fire Department. It was really, really hot that day, so it was kind of, almost a grind to get through the two hour march without passing out. But then you’re also trying to dodge all the horse crap on the road and everything. So that was, kind of made it amusing. A little bit of a game to try and dodge all that as you’re going. But yeah, that was definitely a fun experience, and it should be a good time again this year.