HAMILTON – The First Annual Firefighter Grand Gala opened its doors to elegant guests that offered their support to the Six Nations Fire and Emergency Services Department on Wednesday, November 18 at the Michelangelo Events and Conference Centre located in Hamilton.
Hundreds were in attendance at the centre which was wonderfully decorated, with hanging crystal chandeliers and luxurious furnishings. Well-dressed guests were able to enjoy a silent auction, raffle draws, the music of Murray Porter, Logan Staats and Lacey Hill throughout the night, as well as a dance exhibition by Santee Smith.
Smith was also Master of Ceremonies for the night, and performed an introduction after guests were seated. A four course meal was offered, and shortly after Chief Ava Hill offered more welcoming remarks. Six Nations Fire Chief Matthew Miller also stepped up to the podium to share some of Six Nations’ fire history.
Miller explained that “it’s been an incredible evening,” while during the day he attended a structural fire within the Six Nations community.
“I just want to thank the community for the unwavering support that they’ve shown us for holding our first annual gala,” said Miller. “For being our first attempt at doing this we’re really quite pleased with the turn out we’ve had, and we’re hoping it’s going to be something we can build on in the future and make it an annual thing,” he said.
Miller explained that the Six Nations Elected Council and Chief Ava Hill in particular played a huge role in the execution of the gala, with the goal of raising $40 000 for the fire department.
“One of the first things she [Hill] said to me when I became fire chief, was that she wanted to run a fund-raising gala for the fire department,” he said, including that Hill was a part of the committee that organized the event. “We really won’t know until next week when the committee meets to determine the numbers. At this point we’ve met exactly what we’ve wanted to meet, and we’re just going just going to build on it for next year,” he said.
Miller mentioned that the event has been in the making with the committee since April, and hopes to continue annually.
“I’m thinking with the discussions we’ve had so far, this is our forty-ninth year, next year being the fiftieth, we’re hoping to up the ante with the gala next year. Not only to celebrate our fifty-year anniversary, but also bring more awareness to the struggles we’re having in our community as far as fire prevention, fire incidents and even car accidents,” he said.
With the bravery video and presentation, along with the Six Nations Fire Video and Firefighter Presentation, Miller explained that the evening also tied in the struggles of being a firefighter. The glamourous night ended with dancing to the Blaine Blues Band and Murray Porter.