‘Local firefighter will be a hard act to follow’ – Hearty
Councillor Terry Hearty has congratulated Crossmaglen Fire and Rescue Service Watch Commander Gerard McMonagle on his retirement and thanked him for almost three decades of hard work and loyal service to the people of south Armagh.
“For every one of those years he put his heart into the role and made the local brigade a major part of our community. They were always happy to help out at community events and put on demonstrations.
“Gerard was instrumental in giving local children ownership of the service with regular visits to schools to promote fire safety and when children wanted to visit the station to see the fire engines he made sure they were never disappointed
Hearty continued, “While he always made time for the young people of the area Gerard was very serious about saving lives.
“Due to the fact that ambulances sent to south Armagh often come from Craigavon or Kilkeel there would usually be a delay in their arrival, so we lobbied for the Crossmaglen Fire Station to be automatically alerted when 999 calls were made from the area.
“They were always on the scene straight away doing what they could to help, whether it was administering first aid, rescuing people from buildings or vehicles or even just diverting traffic. They always made sure people were ready to go when the ambulance arrived.
“This vital work saved precious minutes and in emergency situations such as road traffic accidents, undoubtedly saved lives. There can be no nobler or worthy act than to save the life of another and this is something Gerard did numerous times.
“He was also a champion of cross border cooperation,” Hearty explained, “Particularly when it came to things like road traffic accidents. His role in the fire service was more of a vocation than a job. Gerard and his crew helped countless charities in the south Armagh area over the last number of years.
“They raised a huge amount of money for very worthy causes within the area and we would all hope that Gerard will continue his invaluable work with the community and local charities.
The Sinn Fein Councillor added, “I want to send Gerard my best wishes on his retirement and I would also wish his successor well in their new role. No doubt they’ll have a hard act to follow. Fortunately, they’ll have the same great crew around them that the people of our area are so proud of.”
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