Ted Arnott spoke in Elora on Sunday, October 24 , 2010 – the Centre Wellington Fire
and Rescue Appreciation Day. The following is the text of his remarks:
Good afternoon everyone.
It’s great to be here, with the Mayor, Members of Council – knowing their long
campaigns are winding down, they are the ones with the big smiles – and staff, all of
you in the fire service, and special guests.
I feel very honoured to be the one who gets to say thank you, on behalf of the Province
But finding the right words isn’t easy; such is the extent of our gratitude.
My own feelings of appreciation go back about 37 years, when I was growing up in
Arthur – on a Saturday night in January, during a nasty ice storm.
Some kind of electrical short started a fire in our basement, which quickly spread to the
main floor. I think I was about 10 years old at the time.
We quickly put on winter coats over pyjamas and winter boots too, and took refuge at
our next-door neighbours. We used their phone to call the Arthur Fire Department.
Our Fire Chief, Howard White, lived just one street over, and he was the first on the
scene, soon followed by the trucks, the crew, and their equipment.
Again, a Saturday night in January, 10:30 pm, ice storm, and in Arthur, no less – all of
you know about responding to a call like that.
We watched from the safety of our next-door neighbour’s window, and through the eyes
of a ten year old boy, it all seemed like an exciting adventure unfolding before me.
These heroic figures had arrived to battle the fire, save our house,
Just in time, I remember thinking, just like Spiderman.
It was only many years later that I learned how close we came to losing the whole
house, and how heroic those firemen really were.
So, my gratitude is not just official. It is also personal, to the fire service as a whole, and
to the generations of firefighters who came before you, and especially today to all of you
And your spouses and families as well, for they should be acknowledged for the support
they give you, enabling you to do the job, year after year.
Page 1 of 2 It has been a real pleasure to work with you, and the Fire Fighters’ Association of
Ontario, and the Chiefs Association on so many provincial issues, through the last 20
years – and I hope that you will know that as long as I’m in the Legislature, I will take
your side, I will push for what you need and deserve from the Provincial Government,
and I will fight for you.
Just like you, I’m just a call away.
So please accept our sincere thanks for your service, and congratulations on your
And as you plan, as you train, as you prepare, and as you respond, know that our
thoughts and prayers are with you always, and we as a community have a debt of
gratitude to you, that can never be fully discharged.
Thank you very much!