I retired recently, and I talked to Chief Burrell at the time because I wanted to stay on the Honour Guard, I still believe in what it does. I mean, I’m not an active firefighter but I can still participate in the Guard.
For some, the desire to represent the fallen of the CFD extends well beyond their retirement from the floor. Blaine Gray retired in 2013, but wanted to continue to appear on behalf of the department in the Honour Guard- for as long as he can walk!
As a self proclaimed ‘unsentimental guy’, he prides himself on serving the Department without succumbing to the emotional toll of the Guard’s work; an important quality for any prospective member. Executing drills and procedures at any time can prove difficult, but being able to do so at the funeral of a friend or colleague requires extra emotional strength. This lifelong commitment stems from wanting to continue the message of the Guard, and the relationships that are built within it.
The public face isn’t necessarily the part the Guard members enjoy the most. Blaine relishes the chance to meet up for drill practice. These sessions allow the group to spend time away from the limelight and have some fun, enjoying the camaraderie of the unit. Due to the intense nature of their public work, drill practices can be a little more relaxed, helping out new recruits and generally getting to know the rest of the crew.