Busy until the very last day, former chief Dave Williams retires from firefighting

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Dawn-Euphemia Fire Chief Don Ewing thanks former Chief Dave Williams on his retirement from firefighting after more than 30 years.

Dave Williams decided May 30 would be his last day as a Dawn-Euphemia firefighter, and, as it turned out, the veteran firefighter was kept busy until the very last day.

Williams – one of the last original members of the Dawn-Euphemia Fire Department which formed in 1991 – hung up his helmet Monday after helping his crew fight a three alarm fire at Brennan Poultry. Williams was on the scene as a “gofer” grabbing whatever supplies the men and women fighting the fire needed.

It’s one of the many roles the former chief has played. He started as a firefighter as the department formed.

“We were just a bunch of farm boys and we had no pre conditions…nothing to go by…We made up the rules as they suited us,” Williams says. “It is a totally different creature today than it was then.”

Williams moved up the ranks until he became deputy chief to Jerry Burns. Under Burns’ leadership, Williams says he learned patience. It was a lesson he learned well since at least one member of the department, Capt. John Sanderson, calls him “Mr. Cool because he says I never seem to get rattled.”

Many people learned of his last day via a social media post from the department. Williams didn’t want a big send off.

“It’s time for a younger, sleeker model,” he joked when The Independent called. “I was just looking for a handshake and a thank you.”

On social media, members of the department voiced their thanks saying Williams exemplified the term “Service above Self” even to the very last day fighting a three-alarm fire.

“It was hot, dusty and frankly not the sort of day anyone would want to be at a structure fire. But, while most would perhaps call it a day. Not David. He rolled up and reported to Incident Command as usual.

“I think that says about all one in the fire service needs to hear about a fellow firefighter to know what sort of fabric a guy is made of,” wrote Chief Don Ewing on behalf of the firefighters.

It was a sentiment echoed by the community including one member of council on social media. “Congratulations Dave on a storied career and your dedication over the years. You are one of a kind,” wrote Dawn-Euphemia Councillor Jason Meyer.

“It was an honour to work under Dave Williams’ command. A truly selfless Chief and pillar of the department,” added Aaron McCutcheon.

It was a thought echoed by Rick Mackenzie. “It was an absolute honor to serve under Dave. I’m even more proud to call him a friend.”