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Inaugural honours ceremony for P-R paramedics

Prescott-Russell’s paramedics sit withWarden Guy Desjardins (front centre), Director Michel Chrétien, and Mayor Pierre Leroux for a photo for the first of what will become an annual tradition for honouring years of individual dedicated service. —photo UCPR

They are often the first face someone in- volved in an accident or othermedical cri- sis will see. Prescott-Russell’s paramedics are always on the job and ready to respond to an emergency and now there will be an annual ceremony to highlight and honour individual members of the service for their years of dedication. The Prescott-Russell Paramedics Deco- ration Ceremony, the first of what will be- come an annual event, took place May 24 in Hawkesbury. This year, officials for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) gathered to pay tribute to 20 members of the regional paramedics department for 42, 32, and 22 years of service. The decoration itself, by tradition, is presented to amember of the unit after the person’s first 12 years of service, with follow-up award presentations for individuals every 10 years after. “In order to celebrate National Parame- dic Week, which took place this year from May 22 to 28,” statedMichel Chrétien, UCPR emergency services director, “we wished to recognize the service of 20 paramedics that, combined, is equivalent to more than 600 years of service.” “I wish to congratulate all the paramedics for the relentless duties that they perform every day in order to help our residents in their most vulnerable moments,” stated Mayor Pierre Leroux of Russell Township, chairman for the UCPR emergency services committee. “Their service and dedication, as well as their constant presence in our community, makes Prescott and Russell one of the greatest places to live.” The original presentation procedure for the paramedics’ service decoration is taken from the Canadian Armed Forces as set down in 1949. Topping the list for the inau- gural PR Paramedics Decoration Ceremony is Paul Labelle with 46 years of dedication

as a paramedic for the region. He began his career with the Noel Ambulance Service in 1969 and continued on with that agency and then the Prescott-Russell regional service until his retirement in December 2015. Also receiving honours for 32 or more years of service were: Daniel Cyrill Ville- neuve (40 years), Raymond Groleau (39 years), Gilles Lacroix (37 years), Michel Chrétien Jr. (35 years), Jeff Warnock (33 years), Louis Rathier (32 years), Daniel Le- duc (32 years), Stéphane Huppé (32 years), and Yvon Leclair (32 years). Honoured for 22 or more years of service were: André Jean (31 years), Daniel Lacelles (31 years), Sylvain Pelletier (30 years), Denis Dalrymple (29 years), Sylvain Veilleux (29 years), Patrice Brennan (28 years), Yves Lari- vière (28 years), Nancy Leduc (28 years), Claude Meloche (27 years), Alfred Baaklini (27 years), Mathieu Berthiaume (27 years), Marc-André Périard (26 years), Christophe Serano (26 years), Mario Périard (24 years), and Martin Gascon (24 years). The OPP are worried that boaters are not getting the message about a simple boating safety technique. So far in Ontario, there have been eight boating fatalities where failure to wear a lifejacket was credited as the main reason for someone dying. Alcohol was the other contributing factor in all but one of the six known fatal boating incidents in this year’s OPP files. The number of boating fatalities so far this year in Ontario is three times that for the same period in 2015.The incidents range from kayaking or canoeing trips where the victim fell out of the craft or it capsized to personal water craft where the rider fell off the speeding vehicle. One incident involved a small outboard boat that was overloaded, ended up swamped and went under. – Gregg Chamberlain Wear lifejackets when boating, urge police

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