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Bruce County Paramedics Trevor Bye (left), Brittany Kealey with son Cooper, Paula Greyhead and Bobby-Joe Barth (not pictured Derek Stephenson) attend the inaugural First Responders Appreciation Barbecue September 12 in Southampton.

Hub Staff

First responders serving Saugeen Shores and the surrounding area were celebrated at an event outside the Southampton Firehall September 12. A community barbecue and a meet an greet all amounted to a show of thanks to emergency service personnel from Saugeen Shore Police Service, Bruce County Paramedic Services and Saugeen Shore Fire Department.

The event was co-organized by the Chantry Island Cham-bettes, the Southampton Residents' Association and the Southampton Rotary Club, with help from the Queen’s Bar and Grill and saw hundreds of people in attendance.

Cham-bette and Vice-Deputy Mayor Diane Huber said that it was a night of appreciation. “In a small town often when somebody shows up as a first responder at an emergency or an accident they actually know the people who are involved or know somebody who’s connected to those people, that’s very hard," she said. "The potential for stress after incident is incredible so this is a good way for the community to say, 'Thanks, we really appreciate what you're doing.'"

When speaking to the crowd, Saugeen Shores Fire Chief Phil Eagleson noted the proximity to National Service Day, September 10, and its relevance to the inaugural first responders community barbecue. Eagleson highlighted that there are currently 48 volunteer firefighters in Saugeen Shores and said that they haven't had to hire anyone in over ten years. “They're well-trained, have experience, and what they do for the community is absolute remarkable," he said, while, “and speaks to their dedication to the community."

The Fire Chief spoke to those who will be retiring and thanked them for their service and said that the department would soon be looking for new volunteer firefighters.

A note from Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, who was unable to leave Queen’s Park, was read by Diane Huber.

“I have the greatest resect and admiration for all of our first responders. The emergency service you provide cannot be understated. The work you do is incredible, and the dedication you have to that work deserves our recondition and appreciation everyday,” read Huber.

Saugeen Shores Police Chief Mike Bellai said he appreciated everyone coming out and supporting “not just the Police Service but all Emergency Services." He continued. "I’ve been here since December and the way that everyone works together in this community is really something and I do really want to thank you... you're here to thank us today, but I'm here to thank you," said Bellai.

notes of thanks

While waiting in line for the barbecue, many attendees took advantage of an opportunity to write message of thanks and appreciation to the local first responders.

rob atkinson

Saugeen Shores Captain and Fire Prevention Officer Rob Atkinson in front of the many fire trucks on display at the event.


Cousins Aleigha Ealgeson and Peyton Eagleson know their way around a fire truck.


The Chantry Island Cham-bettes helped feed everyone who attended the First Responders Appreciaton Barbecue September 12 at the Southampton Fire Hall.


The community had the chance to sit down and chat with many first responders from Police to Paramedics at the inaugural event.


Manning the barbecue were Southampton Rotarians Pat O’Connor, Mike Roberts and Geza Kocsis.


Pat Gibbons and Jayne Wickens of the Southampton Residents' Association helped provide healthy snacks.

phil eagleson mike bellai

Saugeen Shores Fire Chief Phil Eagleson (left) and Saugeen Shores Police Chief Mike Bellai, addressed the crowd at the inaugural First Responders Appreciation Barbecue at the Southampton Fire Hall September 12.


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