By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 21, 2017
It takes a certain kind of person to become a volunteer firefighter, a special kind of person.
Someone who not only cares deeply about one’s community, but who has the fortitude of character to march into flames to save neighbours’ homes, or perhaps neighbours themselves.
In small, rural communities, where the tax base does not often allow for staffed fire departments, volunteer firefighters are essential. One simply has to hope there are enough people willing to step into the fold to keep those communities safe.
Doug Schell has been a member of Minden’s fire department for nearly three decades; 28 years to be exact, half of that as chief.
Last week, Schell tendered his resignation to the Township of Minden Hills and in a couple weeks’ time, will begin a new job within the community.
He will not carry on with the department.
Twenty-eight years is a lot of calls. It’s a lot of fires, a lot of car crashes. It’s a lot of missed family occasions and a lot of sleepless nights.
In Minden Hills, there aren’t just fires, but, as we were so astutely reminded by Mother Nature this past spring, also floods. Severe ones.
The chief’s role has evolved to include flood preparation, emergency planning and implementation of that planning when flooding occurs.
Schell has witnessed the evolution and modernization of the department itself. He became the township’s first full-time, paid fire chief in 2003 and earlier this year, was part of the groundbreaking for the township’s long-awaited new fire hall along Highway 35.
From a media standpoint, Schell has always been readily available throughout the years, willing to answer whatever questions he can, keeping us all aware of the department’s activities. He’s also been a fixture at community events, a friendly, recognizable face for residents.
Change is one of life’s few constants and something that is often required for growth. Each of us knows innately what is best for ourselves, and for our families.
Thank you, Doug, for your many years of service to your community.
All the best.