35 years of service honoured

SIX NATIONS – Six Nations’ Volunteer Firefighter Howard VanEvery was honoured Monday at a lunch hour gathering at the temporary Fire Station at Public Works for his 35 years on the job protecting the lives and property of Six Nations residents.

VanEvery seemed surprised but pleased to be recognized by his fellow firefighters who hold him in very high esteem.

“He is a great role model,” says fellow firefighter Crystal Farmer.  “He’s kind of an icon around here and everybody at the department looks up to him. He’s always willing to help everybody and is just a great guy.”

He has seen a lot of changes during those years in terms of equipment and training.

“There sure has been a lot of things I’ve seen,” he said. “We didn’t have any power equipment at all, like jaws-of-life or power generators and that kind of thing. All we had was a pry bar and bolt cutters.”

There were only two pumpers and a water tanker to cover the entire reserve.

“Today there are seven vehicles and two more in storage,” he says. “There’s about 40 volunteers now and about a dozen full timers, but it still isn’t enough.”

Over the years he has also seen more than enough tragedy and unspeakable horrors attending both fire and motor accident fatalities, which still leave him shaken at times but he has found a place to put those visions.

“We are always looking for more volunteers,” says VanEvery. “We gotta keep everybody safe.”

New Fire Chief Matt Miller knows VanEvery very well and has nothing but respect for him.

“Captain Howie was my first Captain at Station #2 when I joined the Fire Department,” he recalls. “He is one of the main people I credit will giving me the foundation I have had with the service that allowed me to have a career in the field. Today is a pretty special day.”

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