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May 21, 2013
By Jennifer Grigg


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May 21, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – Those of you who have read some of my blogs over the past year may recall me mentioning the “minions,” an affectionate nickname given to my two bylaw coworkers from last summer. We were like the three amigos. . . or maybe it was more like the three stooges.

May 21, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – Those of you who have read some of my blogs over the past year may recall me mentioning the “minions,” an affectionate nickname given to my two bylaw coworkers from last summer. We were like the three amigos. . . or maybe it was more like the three stooges.

Either way, we spent the summer patrolling the township, writing parking tickets, visiting campsites and educating the campers on responsible camping, and responding to the various bylaw complaints that are typical in cottage country.

The conversation during our down time would often revolve around what it’s like to be on the fire department and, as the summer progressed, so did the minions’ interest in becoming volunteer firefighters. Their interest was pretty much expected, since we all worked out of the fire hall and they had daily exposure to the whole life-of-a-volunteer-firefighter thing. They were even lucky enough to end up at the odd call with me if we were out on patrol together; but, more often than not, the pager would go off and they’d be left behind – sorry guys!

A lot has changed since last summer.

The minions are now recruits. They’ve just completed the mandatory 100-hour recruit course and they received their pagers at training last week. Needless to say, the pager hasn’t gone off since. Other than the pager test a few days later, that is. I received a frantic message from one of them asking me if it was a call. I couldn’t help but laugh.

I happened to glance across the hall the other night in time to see one of them putting his pager on his belt for the first time. I can totally appreciate what that moment meant and what an accomplishment it is.

We’ve all been there and we all remember what it was like to be handed that pager. It signifies something that’s almost too difficult to put into words. A pager is something that’s recognized by all firefighters, everywhere. You can be in another town or even another province, but when you see a pager on someone’s belt, you instantly know and understand something about that person, even if you never say a word to him or her.

It’s like driving a Jeep (TJ or YJ anyway). Jeep drivers all wave at each other. Doesn’t matter if you have no idea who they are. You have something in common. It’s just what you do and it’s part of the Jeep culture.

Well, minions, welcome to the fire department culture.

When that pager finally does go off for the first time, just remember. . . take a deep breath and keep your cool; we’ll be there for you every step of the way.

Congratulations, Dustin and Dan!

Oh, and if someone asks you to get the water hammer off the truck, ask me, I’ll show you where it is.

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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