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April 1, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – Thirty-five years is a long time to be committed to any one thing. I would have been about six years old when my buddy Jimmy joined the fire department. That’s hard to believe. What’s harder to fathom is that he has been on the fire department for almost as long as I’ve been on this earth. How’s that for putting things into perspective?

April 1, 2013
By Jennifer Grigg

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April 1, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – Thirty-five years is a long time to be committed to any one thing. I would have been about six years old when my buddy Jimmy joined the fire department. That’s hard to believe. What’s harder to fathom is that he has been on the fire department for almost as long as I’ve been on this earth. How’s that for putting things into perspective?

Jimmy’s dad was the deputy chief when I joined as a volunteer in 1997 and was one of the original members of the department. His passion that was obviously passed down to his son – a tradition that will live on for years to come.

I can only imagine what Jimmy has seen over the years: the tragedy, the trauma, the tears. Of course, there’s always a flip side. He’s also seen many good firefighters come and go (his dad included), become the best of friends with several of them, and life-long buddies with many, if not all of them.

How many family dinners, leisurely weekends and work days do you think the pager interrupted over the course of 35 years? How many times did he hear, “Awww, dad, do you have to go?” or the knowing look I know, I know… from his wife of almost as many years.

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He’s been there for the good, the bad and the ugly for longer than most of us have ever been involved with anything. He’s had his ups and downs, as many of us do, with trying to do the most we can with what we’ve got. He has a heart of gold, and a level of commitment that defies logic.

He’s quite simply been there forever. He knows the township, the people and the profession. He is an all around great guy to have on any call with you because he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with him, no matter what kind of call it is.

But even more than that, he’s a good friend – one of the best. He’s always been there to listen, to support and to offer help in any way he can. He really is the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back.

So, on the day that marks his anniversary I would like to say: hats off to you Jimmy! And congratulations on 35 years of dedicated, devoted, and damn fine service to the Georgian Bay Fire Department.

It’s been an honour working with you and I look forward to many more years of the same!

Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. She began her fire career with the Township of Georgian Bay in 1997 and became the department's fire prevention officer in 2000 and a captain in 2003. She was a fire inspector with the City of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services before taking time off to focus on family, and is excited to be back at it. E-mail her at jhook0312@yahoo.ca and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee.


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