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Heroes in the Sky

If you happened to glance upwards to the roof of the Co-op Gas Bar this weekend, something off may have caught your eye. There were tents, and four figures waving at passers-by.
James Lee, Amanda Westbrook, Tyler Simoneau, and Hannah Bohaychuk spent 30 hours on the roof this weekend.
James Lee, Amanda Westbrook, Tyler Simoneau, and Hannah Bohaychuk spent 30 hours on the roof this weekend.

If you happened to glance upwards to the roof of the Co-op Gas Bar this weekend, something off may have caught your eye. There were tents, and four figures waving at passers-by.

For the third year the Barrhead Fire Department participated in a unique fundraiser, Heroes in the Sky, to spread awareness and raise money for the department.

Because this is a popular event not only for the community, but among the firemen themselves, deputy fire chief Gary Hove said the roof dwellers are chosen by chance.

“We have a little raffle here amongst the guys. Names are thrown into a hat because everyone wants to participate,” said Hove. “Especially in that specific part of it, where they stay up on the roof.”

This year, two men and two women were chosen. James Lee, Tyler Simoneau, Hanna Bohaychuk, and Amanda Westbrook had the honour of climbing the ladder up to the roof of the Co-op Gas Bar.

The four firefighters made their way up at noon on Saturday, where they set up tents and situated themselves for the 30-hour stakeout. After a long day in the sun battling both wasps and water balloon ambushes, and a night filled with honking cars passing by, it was time to come down.

Lee, who was up for the second year in a row, said the group’s time on the roof went pretty well.

“We had a couple of water balloon fights with the guys working down here, we listened to music, nothing too exciting,” he laughed. “It’s a neat thing to do. A neat experience.”

Though the firemen and women on the roof may be what draws people in at first, the event is an effort of the entire department. The whole crew was there showing support, selling calendars, and answering questions.

Town councillor and volunteer firefighter Ty Assaf said many of the people who stopped by believed the department’s 6x6 was funded by either Town or County monies, when in fact it was all thanks to the efforts of department members.

“When we told them it was pretty much from our fundraising, and from the members hard work,” said Assaf. “They were pretty shocked we dished out $60,000 for basic equipment that we could have used on ourselves if we wanted to.”

Although many came out to support the department and asked positive questions, there were a few negative points in regards to why the rodeo dance won’t be happening this year.

“People were a little upset with us because of the rodeo dance being canceled,” said Assaf. However, he was able to explain it was not in the hands of the fire department.

Despite doing some slight damage control, Assaf said he thinks the event was very successful and the hot dogs were a huge hit. Over the whole weekend, the department sold close to 300 calendars and received quite a few donations as well.

“Lots and lots of people left donations, which was very nice,” he said. “Co-operators were just bent over backwards in our support. It was fantastic.”





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