‘Ordinary people doing extraordinary things’
Bermuda’s heroes of the fire service were celebrated at an awards ceremony yesterday with a salute to “the Covid 12” of recruits who persevered through their training in the depths of a pandemic.
Acting Fire Chief Dana Lovell took the stage at Hamilton Fire Station to pay tribute to the men and women, from administration through to the firefighters themselves, who chose a life in public service.
“I can say without contradiction that our chosen occupation is a dangerous one,” Mr Lovell told the gathering.
“When the community see us during their emergencies, they’re having a really bad day – and it’s you that help to make it a little better.
“This requires ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”
Firefighters miss time with friends and family when they report for duty, he said, adding: “I’m honoured to be a fire officer and a public servant, and I hope you are too.”
Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, told attendees the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service had a record to be proud of.
“When people run away from danger, it’s often the role of firefighters to face that peril – to meet that danger head-on,” he said.
The job also comes with responding to emergency medical calls, dealing with hazardous chemicals, responding to traffic accidents and covering routine matters such as building safety.
Mr Weeks added that during hurricane season, the BFRS plays a “vital role” as part of the Emergency Measures Organisation.
“Today’s ceremony is not only to recognise firefighters, but also our essential emergency dispatchers, administrative staff and other key personnel who work hard every day for our public.”
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medals were awarded to firefighters Jay Astwood, Christopher Clarke, Charles Butterfield, Leroy Maxwell, Vance Hassell, Hezekiah Fox and Johan Wernbo.
Awards in administration went to Anthony Caisey, Jamal Albouy, Raymond Masters, Josonne Smith and Deroy Somner.
For the “Covid 12” recruits of 2020, Idrees Sharrief was recognised as the most outstanding recruit.
Takyh Sharief Hayward was awarded most academic.
Damon Ming was president of the group, while Callon Burns took the team award.
Among civilian staff, the five-year awards went to Yaima Govia in administration, and Renée Raynor and Rochelle Marshall, emergency medical dispatchers.
A 10-year award went to Jokeita Henry in information and technology.
Fifteen-year awards went to emergency medical dispatchers Elouise Burcher and Janae Foley, as well as Anna Swann in administration.
Chef Carlos Caisey was applauded for the 20-year award.