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Dan McCaw gets his helmet back

September 30, 2015

By Jim Eadie

Former reeve and co-chair of the Warriors day at Coe Hill (WDACH) committee, Dan McCaw, came to Wollaston Township council at the Sept. 22 regular meeting to update council about the current situation with Warriors Day, and in the end came away with a nice surprise.
“I have to give you some news, and I don’t think it is all bad,” he said. “The present Warriors Day committee is getting too long in the tooth. We have always built our bank account up each year … and we could plan. This year we haven’t got it. We need money, and we need people to do stuff. Six of us can’t handle it any more`… it is just too much for 70, 80, and 90 year-olds.”
WDACH requires up to $30,000 per year to put on the world-class event, which featured the Canadian Military Skyhawks precision parachute team demonstration, and one of the largest parades of vintage and current military vehicles and equipment in Canada. Over the past few years sources of grant money has all but dried up for the committee.
“This has become an important regional event, and is an important economic draw for this region,” noted Reeve Graham Blair. “There is talk of the event being in jeopardy,
and no-one wants to see it end. Darryl Kramp spoke to me after the parade this year and said we should get together after the election and do something … make sure it doesn’t go by the wayside.”
Kramp is the current Member of Parliament for Prince Edward – Hastings federal riding.
Wollaston Township council has financially supported the WDACH event annually.
Following his presentation, McCaw was presented with is old fire chief helmet by Jennifer Cohen, township clerk and member of the Wollaston Volunteer Fire Dept.
McCaw was one of the prime movers in organizing the volunteer fire department at Coe Hill in 1971, and in 1972 was appointed the first fire chief. He served in that capacity for 21 years, until 1974.
“I was over working in the gravel pit, and Frank Graham (Reeve of Wollaston Township at the time) came over and said that they had appointed me chief,” said McCaw, “it was quite a surprise.”
In 1974, Clive Pope (then Ontario Fire Marshall) described the Wollaston Volunteer Fire Dept. as “small but mighty” in his report published in Canadian Firefighters Magazine.
“We had built a new hall, we had bought a new truck, and we were well trained,” beamed McCaw after the presentation. “We just needed a rack to dry the hoses … but we had the blessing of the Pope.”
Unaware that his grandfather was a former fire chief, McCaw’s grandson Andrew McCaw just graduated from Seneca College’s 4-year emergency services program, and has been hired by the Toronto Fire Services. Currently he is completing the Toronto training program, and will graduate on Oct. 30.
“He has been hired to work on the protection side,” said Brent McCaw, Andrews father. “That means public education, inspections and investigations. We are very proud of him, he was focused, he knew what he wanted to do, and he worked very hard to get what he wanted.”
“When I was chief, you had to buy your own helmet,” said Dan McCaw. “When I retired, I really didn’t care about the helmet … but now I want to give to Andrew.”
Fortunately Cohen was able to locate the chief’s old helmet still at the fire hall, and returned it to the former chief.



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