Three emergency responders honoured at Huron County Council

At centre, Goderich Fire Cpt. John Dobie receives Firefighter of the Year for 2011.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News CLINTON – Volunteer Fire Cpt. John Dobie was first to arrive at the Goderich firehall on Aug. 21, responding to what he thought was an alarm coming from the humane society on East Street.

In the absence of the chief and deputy chief, he took charge of the crew and rode to the call in Pumper 11. As the firefighters turned onto Victoria Street, they knew it was more than just an alarm.

“I can only imagine how overwhelming it must have been,” Goderich Fire Chief Steve Gardiner told Huron County Council yesterday, in presenting Dobie with Firefighter of the Year for 2011. Gardiner, along with fire chiefs from Central Huron and Huron East, nominated Dobie for the award, which is one of the 2011 Emergency Services Awards issued by the Warden’s Task Force.

Const. Patrick Armstrong received Police Officer of the Year for 2011.

Huron OPP Const. Patrick Armstrong received Police Officer of the Year for 2011 and Gary Renauld was awarded Paramedic of the Year for 2011.

Dobie took command at the five-points traffic lights in Goderich and began to assign duties to 25 volunteer firefighters who fanned out across town to check on residents in the aftermath of the tornado. They relayed messages back to Dobie, who tracked progress in marker on the side of the pumper. Along the way, they discovered one fatality had occurred and many were injured. As well, there were blocked roads, gas leaks, onlookers unaware of the dangers and poor communications to deal with.

“Firefighters reported to me later of the amazing job he did with so much going on,” said Gardiner.

Huron OPP Const. Patrick Armstrong received Police Officer of the Year for 2011 for the role he has played in established the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, which was created to carry on Mounsey’s commitment to community by honouring emergency services professionals who have died in the line of duty and donating defibrillators in communities.

Armstrong was partner to Huron OPP Const. Mounsey, who died as a result of a motor vehicle accident while on duty five years ago. He was also friends with Cpl. Matthew Dinning, who also died five years ago while serving on the Close Protection Team in Afghanistan.

The memorial fund organizes gala events, road races, motorcycle rides and the annual Dancing with the Stars of the OPP, which pairs OPP officers for dance competition.

Since it was established in 2009, a core of committed volunteers has raised more than $100,000 and donated 13 defibrillators through Huron County and the province.

“Constable Armstrong has clearly dedicated himself not only in 2011 but during the past five years to all of the fallen emergency workers and military officers and forever keeping community spirit alive and ensuring life-saving devices are distributed throughout our community,” said Huron OPP Staff-Sgt. Shawn Johnson.

“It doesn’t start when you put on the uniform, it doesn’t stop when you take off the uniform, it’s how you represent the community,” said John Cain, who is the OPP Western Region Commander.

At centre, Gary Renauld receives Paramedic of the Year for 2011.

Huron County Paramedic Gary Renauld, of Goderich, was also honoured for his commitment to community during a career that has spanned nearly four decades.

Renauld has served countless hours volunteering to provide para-medicine and First Aid at local events that include hockey games, track and field events, parades, camps and music festival. This past summer, he served six weeks at Galilean Bible Camp in Blind River.

He has instructed and trained in First Aid for more than 36 years, providing service to organizations such as Canadian Heart and Stroke, and the Red Cross.

He has also gone beyond the boundaries of Huron County to help in projects and provide medical care in third world countries. In January 2012, he will make the trek to Costa Rica for the sixth year in a row, assisting on a medical team that expects to treat over 1,000 patients.

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