By Christy Marsters
THE HANTS JOURNAL
On July 1, the Town of Hantsport will assume new leadership in the local fire service.
Hantsport Fire Chief Paul Maynard has accepted a new position, as Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Charlottetown fire services. In his leave, Deputy Chief Peter Johnston has volunteered to take the reigns, as Hantsport’s new Fire Chief.
Shannon Cunningham will fill in the position of first Deputy Chief and Jim Saulter will become newly appointed, as second Deputy Chief to the Hantsport Fire Department.
Johnston says Maynard’s knowledge, organization, communication skills and just his ability to stay calm, in any emergency situation, should be admired. “Paul is really an excellent Fire Chief.”
The position is a big responsibility, Johnston said. “But, I’ve been Deputy Chief for 12 years now … I’m ready for the challenge.”
“I want to continue moving us forward; just as Paul has, by working together with all of the members to keep moving forward,” Johnston added. “I just want to wish [Paul] good luck and all the best in his new adventure, as well.”
Maynard says, as he moves to Charlottetown, he would like to wish all the best to his friends in the fire services within Nova Scotia. “Plus, I want the citizens to know they have the very best of fire and emergency protection in this area.”
The one thing, which truly shines in this region, is mutual aid partnerships, Maynard, who has worked 20 years in the fire services, said. “It shows at all levels – from basic firefighter training through to chief officer meetings; held to discuss items impacting the fire service – and we’re very fortunate to have the cooperation; commitment and dedication of our volunteers in West Hants.”
The world of the fire service is like a huge family; the members are always around to help, Maynard said. “I have always felt comfortable; when I have been away from my family, knowing if there was any issue back home, my brothers and sisters in the fire department would help out in any way possible; at any hour of the day or night.”
The Hantsport Fire Department is a terrific organization with well-trained dedicated volunteers, who put in countless hours each year to serve their community, Maynard said. “Through partnerships with municipal and provincial governments, private and corporate donations; the Hantsport Fire Department has benefitted greatly, from the upgrades of equipments and apparatuses. I am proud to say I was part of the team to made this happen, during my tenure as Chief.”
The recent purchase of a custom e-one pumper from Arlington; Virginia, will be such a great unit to serve the department very well, Maynard said. “It saved a tremendous amount of money from buying new.”
Another highlight was the recruitment drive in 2007, Maynard said. “During my first year as Chief, we brought on 14 new members, during a time when membership was beginning to decline. It was a very positive step forward for Hantsport’s Department, as each new member brought fresh ideas to the department.”
“Each fire and incident always presents a new challenge but the experiences I gained will help me deal with future challenges in the fire service,” Maynard added. “For me, the easy part of this decision was accepting the job in Charlottetown, knowing it was a great opportunity and something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The hard part was uprooting and moving, Maynard said. “Leaving family and friends behind. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of the Hantsport Fire Department for accepting an outsider as their own and for the all of the great friendships, which I have developed [over six years spent] in the community.”
Mayor Wayne Folker said Maynard’s energy showed in the department. “He began to promote people into the Department at a time when we were boarder line too low in members. Now, we’re back to full contingent and beyond.”
“He really took the community to heart,” Folker added. “He’s been a real tremendous asset to this community and we’re certainly going to miss him.”
Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess said to lead a fire department takes understanding, competency, patience, compassion and assertiveness.
Maynard showed a real passion in the fire service, Burgess said. “He was always very good to deal with, trustworthy and dedicated to whatever he did.”
“He’s been an asset since he’s been here,” Burgess said. “He helped coordinate a lot of mutual aid … when we needed him; he had things covered.”
“We were very fortunate to have him,” Burgess added. “He’s been an asset, since he’s been here … he’ll definitely be missed.”