SCUGOG: After working nearly 43 years as a member of the Scugog Fire Department, Fire Chief Richard Miller has retired.
Chief Miller first joined the department as a volunteer in 1974. In 1995, he was named the Fire Chief for the Township part time and took on full time duties as chief in 2003. His last day with the department was Friday, January 27th.
Mr. Miller said one part of the job he is going to miss is the camaraderie of the department.
"I think the camaraderie of the firefighters over the years has been exceptional. That's really the big thing, the firefighters really deserve all of the credit for my career. They've made the department, and I've had the opportunity to guide it,” he said.
Mr. Miller was immersed in the fire department lifestyle at a young age. His father was one of the founding members of the Caesarea Fire Department.
“It was a way you helped the community. It wasn't necessarily expected that you would join, but it was an opportunity. My dad at one point was the Fire Chief in Caesarea, from the Caesarea department it became the Cartwright department. When he retired, he was the deputy chief. So I've had it in my blood since I was born, because the department in Caesarea was founded in 1952 and I was born in 1955. My mother had a fire phone and she would call the volunteers to get them to the fire hall. This was before we had pagers.”
Mr. Miller said his favourite memories from his time as a member of the department are of running initiatives in the community.
"You always have the fun times when you are doing car washes and helping out the community that way and raising money, those are the favourite times. Unfortunately with the good times also comes the bad times. The biggest two fires that I have been involved with are the Jerry's Produce fire and the Catholic Church fire. Those were the two real biggest fires,” he said.
However, he added that he feels relief, now that the pressure of running the department is gone.
“It's been basically 40 years of 24/7 service to the community, and it's like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I sleep better knowing I don't need to get up at 3 a.m. to attend a fire,” he said. “I'm looking forward to traveling, and, when I do get back from my travels, I'll look to serve the community in another way.”
Mr. Miller also wanted to thank everyone in the community for their support over the years.
“All and all, the councils that I have dealt with have been very supportive of me and the department as a whole, and I can't thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to serve the community and move the department forward during my tenure as fire chief,” he said.
In addition, he wanted to remind everyone to routinely check their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“I want people to continue to be safe in Scugog whether I am the fire chief or retired,” Mr. Miller said.
Scugog Mayor Tom Rowett wanted to thank Mr. Miller for his years of dedicated service.
“I’m sure I speak for all of council when I say we appreciate his longstanding service,” he said.
Mark Berney was named Scugog’s new fire chief at Council’s meeting on Monday, February 13th.