On January 12 back in 1996, the Mount Lorne fire hall opened it’s doors for the first time. It all started with a 1977 Ford cabover truck with an 800-gallon tank and a 125 horsepower pump. Since then they’ve been upgrading, with the biggest vehicle to date being a 2008 Fort Garry Triple Combo MXV Crown Pumper.

For 20 years, now, the volunteer firefighters have been the first to respond to incidents in the Mount Lorne area – from saving a cat in a tree to putting out fires.

On June 11 they are going to celebrate their 20th anniversary and they are looking for all the past volunteers to come and celebrate the achievement.

But they are having a hard time finding everyone.

“Let’s get the word out about our 20th anniversary because I’m having a lot of trouble contacting some of the old people from the beginning – like the original fire chief,” says Judith Beaumont, secretary and treasurer of the Mount Lorne Volunteer Fire Department.

The goal of the celebration is to thank and honour all of the volunteers who have put in their time and effort to keeping the community safe over the past 20 years.

“We’re just trying to include as many people as we can in our little celebration,” Beaumont says. “It’s just going to be a community event, but most of all we want them to come and remember that we are still here. So often we are forgotten.”

Beaumont, who also has the role of dispatcher, has volunteered with the department right from the beginning. Fire chief Colin O’Neill says the celebration will include an awards presentation – and Beaumont’s dedication will be acknowledged with a 20-year service award.

In addition to community residents and past and present volunteers, O’Neill hopes that people the fire department has helped will come to the celebration.

“It’d be kind of neat to see people who we’ve responded to their emergencies, in the past,” O’Neill says.

The celebration will include a barbecue, games for kids and live music with Nicole Edwards, Jeff Diment, Steve Slade and Jack Walcher. There will also be a demonstration of firefighting skills, including a vehicle extrication, which is the process of removing a person from a vehicle following an accident that has made it impossible to get out through the doors.

In addition, the fire department will unveil their brand new fire truck: a 2016 Fort Garry Freightliner M2 Pumper Tanker.

It promises to be an afternoon filled with fun.

The event takes place Saturday, June 11 starting at 4 p.m. at the Mount Lorne Community Centre, located at kilometre 1 on Annie Lake Road. The demonstrations will take place at the start of the event, followed by games, the barbecue and music. The celebration will conclude with an awards presentation.

If you have volunteered at the Mount Lorne firehall or know someone who has, contact the fire hall by email at MtLorneVFD@gmail.com or by calling Judith Beaumont at 668-2849.