Elizabethtown-Kitley, Ont. fire chief retires after 43 years
A retirement celebration was held this week south of Ottawa, for a dedicated fire chief who served his community for more than four decades.
On the inside of Fire Station #1 in Lyn, Ont., homemade cards line the garage doors, made by school children across the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley, thanking Fire Chief Jim Donovan for his 43 years of service.
"With lots of years of fire prevention and school visits, we wanted to give the schools an opportunity to make cards, pictures, basically to send their congratulations over to our fire chief," said Alison Merkley, Deputy Clerk with the Township.
"Because of our restrictions, we wanted to limit the number of people who were coming here, but also give an opportunity for the community to be involved," she noted.
Schools that participated included Lyn Public School, Meadowview Public School in Addison, St. Joesph Catholic School in Toledo, and Heritage Community Christian School in New Dublin.
"A lot of different classes participated, so a number did some colouring, wrote letters, and looks like they had a lot of fun preparing cards for him," Merkley said.
Cards made by local schoolchildren for Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Chief Jim Donovan top mark his upcoming retirement after 43 years in the fire service. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
The special ceremony held on May 18 at the fire hall celebrated the years Donovan served his community, as he is set to retire at the end of the month.
Past firefighters, friends and family gathered from around eastern Ontario.
"We all know, and it has been said over and over again, families of firefighters give up a lot of personal time for their firefighter. In a sense, this is not only Jim's retirement, but it is also his family's retirement from the fire emergency services for the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley," said Township Administrative Clerk Yvonne Robert from the podium.
"You were the perfect choice for fire chief in the 1990s and your years of service have shown how valuable you have been since your appointment," Robert said. "During your career, you have been called upon by other fire departments for assistance, advice and guidance, which acknowledges your expertise and dedication to the fire and emergency services.
"On behalf of the firefighters past and present, congratulations on an amazing career and best wishes for a wonderful retirement and hopefully he learns how to hunt while he's off."
Donovan was then awarded with a special fire helmet from the Township, honouring his years of dedication.
Mayor Brant Burrow also said a few words, describing Donovan's role as leaving "an indelible mark on the community and this department."
"The phrase that comes to mind is that people come in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime," Burrow said. "I think that all three apply here because you were definitely recruited for a reason, you stuck with us for an extended season, and I guarantee you are going to be remembered for a lifetime and beyond."
Burrow then honoured Donovan with a stone plaque that read 'Donovan Hall.'
A special plaque dedicating the fire hall in Lyn, Ont. as "Donovan Hall", alongside a special fire helmet marking Fire Chief Jim Donovan's 43-year career. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
"If you're familiar with this process, we did it in Station #3, but how fitting to do it here in Station #1 where you've spent all these years being chief," Burrow said.
"The training room is now going to be known as Donovan Hall," Burrow said, smiling, as applause rose from the hall.
Donovan, taking the podium, said he was both overwhelmed and humbled.
"To be able to be on this fire department, and during a transition of amalgamation, it's never been a job, it's been a passion and a love," Donovan said.
"(Sitting) in the second row is the loves of my life, and I had their support all the way through and it's humbling today, absolutely." he added. "I thank everybody for coming and everybody who prepared the station today."
Elizabethtown-Kitley, Ont. Fire Chief Jim Donovan (centre) is surrounded by firefighters as he marks his upcoming retirement following a 43-year career. May 18, 2022. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
Donovan became fire chief in 1990. Between 2001 and 2019, he responded to nearly every one of the 4,073 total dispatched calls in the Township.
It is estimated that Donovan surpassed 15,000 hours at calls since his involvement in fire services in 1979.
He was awarded Citizen of the Year in 2009, and has been recognized with federal and provincial medals and service bars. He was also the recipient of a Canada 150 medal.
"(I'm) just overwhelmed by the crowd that was here and the gifts that I received," said Donovan after the ceremony. "To me it's never been a job; it's always been a passion which makes it easy to go to work each and every day.
"You do it for the community, you do it from your heart and again I can't say enough about my family support all through the years," he added.
When asked about the profession and the stress that can comes from calls over the past 43 years, he noted some were not easy.
"Usually the good outweighs the bad and that's what you have to look at," he said.
The new plaque that will be on display over the training room is an honour to receive, he added.
"I was just overwhelmed by that. We dedicated the training room at our new station a month or so ago, but again to have that honour and to have your name on the wall that's pretty special," he said.
A screenshot from a slideshow honouring Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Chief Jim Donovan, who is retiring at the end of May after 43 years in the fire service. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
Burrow praised his years of service, noting his retirement is finally starting to sink in.
"Instead of looking forward, today he was forced to start to take a look back at the things that he's achieved and the legacy that he is leaving behind and I think that stone for Donovan Hall really brought it into focus for him," he said.
The torch will now be passed on to Andy Guilboard, who will take Donovan's place as Chief.
"Andy has been the deputy for six years. I groomed him the best I can, and again, the same thing, he's doing it from the heart as well and that's what it's all about," Donovan said.
"Andy will carry on the tradition for sure," said Burrow. "He's got the respect of the leadership team in the department, we've already had people thank us for having the confidence in him to carry that on, so, yeah, he's got some big boots to fill, but I think he's the man to do it."
Now with more time on his hands, Donovan says he has a few plans on what will keep him busy after May 31.
"Well, my wife has a list," he said. "And I love to fish, I love to hunt, I'll fit it in."
Ottawa Top Stories
NEW THIS MORNING
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Police officers in cruisers, on foot patrol and on bicycles are patrolling the Parliamentary Precinct, the ByWard Market and the so-called 'motor vehicle control zone,' as the city prepares for Canada's 155th birthday celebrations and possible protests.
Multiple crashes involving bears in a B.C. national park earlier this month prompted a crackdown on drivers in the area, according to the B.C. Highway Patrol and Parks Canada.
The Royal Canadian Navy says it has relieved the commanding officer of a warship in the Pacific Fleet.
A rare portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, will be on public display for the first time after it was recently sold for US$201,600 at auction.
Russian missile attacks on residential areas in a coastal town near the Ukrainian port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 18 people, including two children, authorities reported, a day after Russian forces withdrew from a strategic Black Sea island.
Saanich police will hold another update on a deadly shooting that took place on Tuesday afternoon, leaving two suspects dead and six officers with gunshot wounds.
Two of Canada's largest airlines announced steps this week to cope with delays, cancellations and service issues. Head to CTVNews.ca to read about the changes announced by Air Canada and WestJet.
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre joined the final leg of a march led by a Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements that has sparked promises -- and fears -- of a new wave of protests in the capital.
Stunning new revelations about former U.S. President Donald Trump’s fight to overturn the 2020 election have exposed growing political vulnerabilities just as he eyes another presidential bid.
The spouse of the gunman in the Nova Scotia mass shooting will testify mid-July before a public inquiry, but she won't face direct questions from lawyers representing victims' families.
As Claire Mahaney-Lion dropped her son off at school this morning, she questioned the reasons behind scheduling a school day that would last fewer than two hours.
Saint John is having its dog day. The host city of the 2022 Memorial Cup is celebrating after the Saint John Sea Dogs bested the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in front of a capacity crowd during Wednesday's championship game at TD Station.
Ontario drivers could soon see the end of "unfair" insurance policies with premiums based on postal codes, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.
Ontario gas prices are about to take a huge drop and one expert says it will be 'well worth waiting' if drivers can hold off on filling up.
A man has been arrested after a car exploded in front of a police station in Oshawa.
Consumer rights advocates are demanding Air Canada provide compensation to many of the hundreds of thousands of passengers whose summer flights it cancelled.
Organizers of a Montreal Caribbean festival are looking for clarity from police as to why a large group of officers interrupted their pre-festival barbecue on Saint-Jean Baptiste Day.
Two people have been reported dead and one person is in critical condition after a fire broke out in a home in Longueuil on Montreal's South Shore.
The second annual Mooz Akinonmaaget Maa Aki Moose Hunt initiative was launched Thursday in Sudbury.
With Health Canada's permission, street drugs can now be consumed inside Safe Health Site Timmins.
Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is helping seniors protect themselves against fire. The Assisting Seniors Awareness Program or Project ASAP is focussed on those 65 or older, and still living independently.
If you were one of the thousands of Londoners who bought gas on Thursday— you overpaid.
On any given day it’s not hard to find out what’s happening in the major, mainstream sports. But what about those sports that don’t have the same high profile, star players, or commercial sponsors as the likes of hockey, baseball, or golf?
Police continue to investigate after a fatal collision involving a cyclist claimed the life of a 17-year-old from Crediton.
A crash involving a Transit bus that appears to have smashed into a home has shut down a road near Osborne Village.
Security measures are expected to be beefed up at two Winnipeg locations Friday when Canada Day events get underway.
AMC working to remove Arlen Dumas after probe found his conduct amounted to 'workplace sexual harassment'
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is working to remove Arlen Dumas as Grand Chief of the organization.
The eviction deadline for people living at an encampment at Victoria and Weber Streets in Kitchener has come and gone, but residents of the property say they’re not moving.
A miscommunication involving a COVID-19 booster shot has left a Kitchener woman concerned for her 86-year-old mother.
The news comes just two days after the City launched a naming contest for the young bird, which it said was the first offspring of Victoria Park swans, Otis and Ophelia.
Thousands of Calgarians are ready to ring in Canada’s 155th birthday as festivities are set to be held across the city, but not everyone is calling this a ‘celebration.’
A southeast Calgary bank was evacuated Thursday afternoon, to allow hazardous materials crews to investigate a strange incident.
The daughter of a Calgary man shot and killed by police earlier this year is calling for details regarding data the service is collecting about interactions between police and people of colour.
Saskatchewan's social services minister announced plans to cut funding to Saskatoon's permanent downtown shelter during a talk radio appearance.
A video captured by a Saskatchewan man shows a kayaker paddling away from a developing tornado.
It’s been 25 years since Saskatchewan’s last residential school closed, but some are still healing.
An often-vandalized memorial featuring the face of former MP Frank Oliver will no longer be displayed in front of Edmonton's Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.
A damning new report from Alberta's auditor general finds government ministries failed to include understandable, relevant and comparable data on COVID-19 in year-end reporting.
A man is facing multiple charges in connection with a rash of arsons in the Alberta Avenue area, and police are calling him a key suspect in a complex investigation.
After dog died on B.C.-bound flight, owner says airline offered compensation based on 'cargo weight'
Nearly two years after her beloved dog died on a flight to B.C., a Metro Vancouver woman says she’s still waiting for justice for her pet.
'We have that resilience and we are strong': Special ceremony marks 1 year since devastating Lytton fire
It’s been exactly one year since fire ravaged the small B.C. community of Lytton, but the source of that massive blaze remains unknown.
A B.C. father who printed off a blog post and submitted it to court in a bid to prevent his children's mother from vaccinating them against COVID-19 has lost the dispute, in part because the judge found his evidence inadmissible.
Summer is officially here as the first long weekend of the season approaches. The last week has been filled with active summer weather and heading into the weekend the story isn’t much different.
Live performance kicks off at noon on the main stage in Wascana Park with opening ceremonies, followed by a variety of entertainment:
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have 12 players on either the one or six game injured lists and 10 roster players listed as ‘out’ or ‘questionable’ leading into Saturday’s week four rematch versus Montreal.