Jim Forbes, from left, and his two sons, Matt and Mike, take a look at the new monument outside the Tatamagouche Fire Department that’s dedicated to former members, and its past and current chiefs. The idea has been talked about for years, but finally came to fruition over the past year or so. Vance Hunt photo

The idea was tossed around for decades, but it’s finally become a reality.

The Tatamagouche Fire Department now has a monument outside the hall to honour its past members, as well as the chiefs in the history of the department.

“In the last 25 years, it’s been talked about quite a bit,” said Jim Forbes, one of the driving forces behind having the monument installed. “But probably in the last year it became more serious and we had the flag poles put in.”

The monument, which features its chiefs on one side and past members on the other, has a quote inscribed, which Forbes said reflects the department’s appreciation to the past members and their families.

“Most of the past members that have gone are on it, as well as all the past chiefs and how long they served as chief,” said Forbes.

For the past number of years, the department had been setting money aside for the project, adding money as they went along. The department also received funding from the province, through Colchester North MLA Karen Casey. Along with Forbes, John Sellers and Kent MacDonald were the main organizers of the project.

The monument was installed the day before the department’s annual Labour Day weekend fundraising event.

“All comments we’ve received so far have been positive. Most people are pleased to see it there, especially the family members,” said Forbes.

With more than 100 names on the side of former members, Forbes – a retired chief, himself – said members’ names will be added, most likely on a year-to-year basis, when they pass.

The department had planned on hosting a dedication ceremony during Fire Prevention Week, which ran Oct. 7 to 13, however they had to put things on the backburner while an error on the plaque was to be replaced.

“We do plan on having a dedication for the monument, and it will involve the community. We just don’t know when at this point,” Forbes said.

During Fire Prevention Week, the fire department had a number of events planned, including a session at Willow Lodge and the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital, and a fire drill and information sessions at Tatamagouche Regional Academy. Firefighters were on hand to show videos to the younger students, while hosting a question and answer period. With the older students, firefighters spoke about the different services the department provides, and showed off pieces of their equipment.