Fire Departments around the region have been holding ceremonies honouring late firefighter Stephen Rayfield and the Castor fire department.
The Bashaw Fire Department held a ceremony on Feb. 9 to express their condolences and support for the families and members of the Castor Fire Department after the on-duty loss of one of their members.
Castor firefighter Stephen Rayfield died while responding to a call on Feb. 4.
Bashaw town Coun. Kyle McIntosh expressed the regrets of Mayor Rob MacDonald and the other members of council who were not able to join them.
“This weekend brought into focus, brought into clarity, the real danger of the work that fighters … go into every day,” said McIntosh.
“Sometimes, that’s routine calls. We should be reminded, that each and every time you put on your uniform, that you truly are the embodiment of the spirit of sacrifice, of bravery, of service,” he said.
“When we hear news like we did out of Castor on the weekend, it breaks our hearts … it shouldn’t be events like this that cause you to hear our thanks.”
A moment of silence was then observed for the fallen firefighter. A refrain on bagpipes was also played.
The Village of Halkirk Fire Department conducted a tribute of their own on Feb. 10., the latest of many services across the region to do so.
On Feb. 4, the Castor department was responding to a call during poor road conditions. The volunteers had been dispatched to a motor vehicle collision on Highway 599 at Range Road 123.
The roads were, according to reports, “extremely icy” and one of their fire trucks lost control on the ice and rolled.
“As a result, our fire Chief, Patrick Kelly, was injured. We pray for his speedy recovery,” said Castor Mayor Richard Elhard, in a written statement posted to Facebook on Feb. 5.
”Tragically firefighter Stephen Rayfield did not survive the horrific event,” said Elhard.
Chief Kelly was transported to Red Deer for assessment and had been released by the next day.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rayfield family,” said Elhard.
“This has been a traumatic event for all our firefighters and their families. So, please support them in any way you can in the coming days.”
Rayfield is survived by his wife Cheryl and three children.
A GoFundMe with a goal of $30,000 was set up by a family friend on Feb. 6 to help support the Rayfield family.
As of Feb. 11, the fundraiser had raised $29,158.
The funeral for Rayfield will be held on Feb. 15 in Castor at the Castor fire hall, with the service being live streamed online, at the Castor Community Hall, the Castor Evangelical Missionary Church, and Castor’s Knox United Church starting at 1 p.m.
The service at the fire hall is limited to family, colleagues, and uniformed fire service members. Everyone else is asked to attend one of the other venues.
– With files from Kevin Sabo, Black Press News Media