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McIntyre looks back on almost 40 years fighting area fires

by Lawrence Lannoo

After almost 40 years of service in the Glenboro-South Cypress Fire Department, the Deputy Fire Chief will finish his service December 31st.

Garth McIntyre, who first joined the department in 1982 and became Deputy Fire Chief in 1991, has submitted his resignation to the municipal council.

It was understood he would be stepping down November 10th, but McIntyre said he would continue serving till the end of the year.

Speaking December 10th, McIntyre said he enjoyed serving the community and working with his fellow firefighters in the area.

“I will miss the calls and the fellowship that comes with it,” he said. “I have also been very involved with the training programs, and it has been very good working with the guys.”

His work as a firefighter and teacher earned McIntyre a number of awards, including the Exemplary Service Medal in 2005; the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012; the Mary Beth Dolan Medal for Exemplary Service in 2016; and the Fire Service Award in 2019.

During his service, McIntyre took the training to become a certified instructor for the Manitoba Emergency Services College.

He said he instructed firefighter trainees across the province in such subjects as fire, traffic control, vehicle extraction, school bus rescue and farm accident rescue.

McIntyre said he first became interested in joining the fire service while he was still the principal at Glenboro School.

“Ewart Hudson, one of the teachers, was in the department,” he remembered, “and he used to talk about their activities in the area. I said to him, if there is ever an opening, I would be interested in joining.

“I had tried a couple years earlier, but they had a full roster.”

McIntyre said the most challenging aspect of fire service was getting up in the middle of the night.

“And we were on call all the time,” he added.

One year, he and his family were just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner when a call came in, McIntyre said.

“The pager went off, and that was for a fire in Stockton,” he said. “You jump up, you run, and get back three or four hours later.”

The biggest change McIntyre said he witnessed during his nearly 40 years in the department was in equipment.

He remembered, when he started in 1982, being provided with a long black coat and, if you were lucky, a pair of waders to keep dry.

Otherwise, you got a pair of rubber boots, he added.

“In 1982, we couldn’t really go into a burning building,” he said, “because we didn’t have the equipment to go into it.”

One early uniform item he remembered fondly was a surprise for protection.

“When we first started, we had old wool gloves,” McIntyre said. “They were like Icelandic mitts.

“Those things would get soaking wet, but you could wring them out, put them back on, and your hands were never cold.”

McIntyre estimated he went on hundreds of calls through the years, even if he averaged 10-15 calls a year.

The Glenboro department also put together a team to compete in provincial firefighter competitions, McIntyre said, and they entered their first contest in 1992.

“By 1999 we started winning,” he remembered, “and we eventually won five years in a row.

“We went to Cold Lake, Alberta to compete in the western Canada competition, placing third overall, followed by another third place showing in Brandon the next year.”

Considering the years of service and the people he associated with during that time, McIntyre said he was happy to have served the area.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “You learn a lot and contribute a lot to your community by doing it.”


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