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Oct. 23, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – Show of hands: How many of you live in the best village, town, city in the country? Let’s face it, we all do. But did our community ever appear to rise above others on the weekend. The Redwood Meadows Firefighters’ Association (RMFA) held its fourth bi-yearly ball on Saturday. This year’s proceeds will be handed over to the town to help offset the costs of our new rescue truck.

October 23, 2012
By Rob Evans

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Oct. 23, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – Show of hands: How many of you live in the best village, town, city in the country? Let’s face it, we all do. But did our community ever appear to rise above others on the weekend. The Redwood Meadows Firefighters’ Association (RMFA) held its fourth bi-yearly ball on Saturday. This year’s proceeds will be handed over to the town to help offset the costs of our new rescue truck.

Until a couple of weeks ago we were under the gun, having sold only half of the available tickets. The guys around the hall hadn’t started to panic but there was a bit of concern on the face of RMFA president Gary Robertson. Then, a week ago, while Roberts was down in the United States with me, inspecting the new rescue truck, we began crunching new numbers on ticket sales. Turns out that the last-minute demand for the show was very high and, as a result, we were overselling the event. We had left room for some expansion so it was easy to add seven extra tables to the inside of the community center. And for those wondering, we were still almost 100 under the allowed capacity.

Many of our firefighters were working their butts off, putting in countless hours to make this our biggest and most successful ball. Robertson looked after the fine details and catering. Trevor Korthius had the daunting task of collecting and arranging items for the live and silent auctions, along with an army of other members who minded the tables and items the night of the ball. Carson Rowat had the wonderful assignment of tickets sales. And, believe me, trying to collect ticket stubs, money and unsold tickets from a bunch of firefighters is like herding cats. Russ Jenkins did an absolutely amazing job as master of ceremonies, as he always does, and had an amazing partner in crime: Lesley Horton, Global Calgary’s morning show traffic guru, cannot be thanked enough – although the final live-auction item was showcased by one of our younger members who happened to remove his shirt to get the bidding started!

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Global Calgary's Leslie Horton, a very good sport, helped to emcee the RMES Firefighters Ball Saturday night. At the end of the formal part of the evening, RMES presented Leslie with a pink fire helmet. Photo by Rob Evans

Local musician Mike Lownsborough and his band the Beverly Thrillbillies donated their time and rocked the joint with their rockabilly sound until the wee hours of Sunday morning. And we got an outstanding deal on the catering by local restaurant The Steak Pit and assistance with the bar from DIRTT Environmental Solutions and Big Rock Brewery. What would an auction be without a great auctioneer? Danny Rosehill from the Old’s Auction Mart provided his tongue-twisting skills for the night.

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Firefighter/EMT Chris Giddens helps to showcase an auction item that involves RMES hosting a children's birthday party. The party package raised $1,700 during the live auction. Photo by Rob Evans

We would not have raised the amount of money we did without the people and businesses that helped us make the ball the best show this town has seen all year. Final numbers are being crunched but by first accounts, this has been the most successful ball so far. We enjoy a great amount of support from our community and I think a big part of that is making residents realize that Redwood Meadows Emergency Services is their fire department. Without the community we serve behind us, we’re nothing more than another municipal service. We like to think we are more than that, actually an integral part of the community of the best town in Canada.

Rob Evans is the chief fire officer for Redwood Meadows Emergency Services, 25 kilometres west of Calgary. Evans attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1989 and studied photojournalism. In 1992, he joined RMES after taking pictures of an interface fire and making prints for the department. He has his NFPA 1001 level II certification, NFPA 472 Operations and Awareness (hazmat), NFPA 1041 level I (fire service instructor), Dalhousie University Certificate in Fire Service Leadership and Certificate in Fire Service Administration and is a registered Emergency Medical Responder with the Alberta College of Paramedics. He lives in Redwood Meadows with his wife, a firefighter/EMT with RMES, and three children.


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