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Langford group looks to set record for firefighter support


October 17, 2014
By Maria Church

Oct. 20, 2014 - The women’s auxiliary in Langford, B.C., wants to know if it’s the longest-running women-only firefighters’ support group in Canada.

Oct. 20, 2014 – The women’s auxiliary in Langford, B.C., wants to know if it’s the longest-running women-only firefighters’ support group in Canada.

Kim Engelstad, a member of the Langford Fire and Rescue Women’s Auxiliary, wants to find out if Langford’s 64-year history gives it a claim to fame.

“We don’t know if there are any others that have gone that long, that have survived,” Engelstad said in a phone interview.

In Langford, firefighter’s wives established the women’s auxiliary in 1950 as a support group to fundraise for the department by holding dances, teas, bake sales and craft sales.

“That’s basically how all auxiliaries started,” Englestad explained. But, she said, as the world modernized and firefighters’ needs changed, many women’s auxiliaries in Canada folded.

“The women’s auxiliaries have gone by the wayside, but we have stuck it out,” Engelstad said. “Our role really changed . . .  over the years, we’ve come up with other ways to help our firefighters.”

Today, the Langford Fire and Rescue Women’s Auxiliary is still an important fundraising body for the Langford Volunteer Firefighter Association, and offers catering service to firefighters attending training courses or on long-term emergency responses, and bursaries for volunteer firefighters who want to attend university or college..

Offering bursaries, says Langford Chief  Bob Beckett, is the most exciting project the auxiliary has taken on.

“I think it’s a wonderful way for to give back to our volunteers,” Beckett said in a phone interview.

The auxiliary itself, he said, “is a remarkable group of ladies and folks that are volunteering and giving back to the community in many ways.”

Next September is the auxiliary’s 65th anniversary, and it will be a big celebration for the 20-member group, Engelstad said.

But first, she said, the auxiliary would like to hear from other Canadian auxiliaries out there to try to determine if  Langford’s group is, indeed, the longest running in the country.

To reach the Langford women’s auxiliary, email Engelstad at dreamon2@shaw.ca