The Tracadie and District Volunteer Fire Department is marking 50 years of community service.
The golden anniversary celebrations earlier this month included a bingo game and an award’s banquet.
“I would do it all over again,” firefighter John ‘Jackie’ Delorey said during an open house Aug. 5 about his time with the department.
He is one of five founding members who are still active with the Antigonish County fire service, which began in a building that once housed a store owned by his uncle Lawrence Delorey.
“It is better than it ever was,” Delorey said, in praising the current organization.
Myles Somers, Charles Punch, Ralph Mattie and John Mattie – the department’s current chief – are the other golden anniversary active members.
One of the three cakes offered to visitors brought back great memories for the long-time firefighter; it was emblazoned with a photo of the department’s first truck, one he recalled often faced challenges when trying to climb East Havre Boucher hill.
Parker Boudreau, 21, the youngest firefighter with the department described the group as “an amazing team.”
He said his love for firefighting started, as a young boy, when he would accompany his father, David, to firefighter challenge competitions.
“I love it,” the two-year member said.
The open house, which drew a great crowd of all ages on a drizzly afternoon, included barbecued goodies, refreshments and cake, along with a bouncy tent for the youngsters and even a washer toss tournament.
In the main hall, visitors had an opportunity to look at some department equipment and reminisce at the photo display.
There were also myriad certificates recognizing the ongoing training opportunities in which fire service members participate.
“We are constantly training, so we can do the best job that we can,” firefighter Vernon Boudreau, one of the organizers for the golden anniversary celebrations, said.
Starting with a great turnout for the bingo game, he said, the week of activities was tremendous.
“It was a wonderful time,” Boudreau said of the awards’ banquet, while noting the attendance of fire chiefs from across the region, along with municipal and provincial representatives.
He praised the communities they serve for their continuing support.
"They always show us that they appreciate their fire department,” Boudreau said.
The events wrapped up the morning after the open house with a breakfast, where a plaque was unveiled, which marks making the aforementioned five founding firefighters life members of the department.