Kahnawake Fire Chief Arnold Lazare was honoured for excellence in his field this week by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs by being named the Canadian Volunteer Fire Chief of The Year.
The longtime member of the Kahnawake Fire Brigade -- 42 years – said the impact of winning the award hasn’t yet sunk in, but that is an exciting day for his, the community and the Indigenous fire safety community as a whole.
“Well, I’m still in disbelief,” Lazare said yesterday. “I was honoured to be nominated. I figured there were a lot of worthy people across the country,” nominated for the award, he said.
Lazare said many, many people helped contribute to the award, including all the members of the Kahnawake Fire Brigade and especially Terry Diabo and Bill Timmons, who helped co-ordinate his nomination, the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada, Blaine Wiggins, Richard Kent “and most importantly, my wife Dawn and my sons TJ, Liam and Ethan,” he said.
The award recognizes excellence in the fire sector.
When reached yesterday at his office, Lazare said he was celebrating by working on a fire-prevention training program and handling some work for the Indigenous Fire Safety Council, he said.
The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake issued a press release congratulating Lazare earlier this week and noting he has been a major part of the Kahnawake COVID-19 Task Force, which has been responsible for helping marshal the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘There were sixteen worthy nominees for this year’s award. We share the entire community’s pride in recognition of Arnold’s years of volunteerism, hard work, and success. He has truly made – and continues to make – a hugely positive contribution to our community. Niá:wen and congratulations,’ the MCK statement said.
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs was founded in 1909. It is an independent non-profit organization representing approximately 3,500 fire departments across the country. Its mission is to advance safe, effective, and sustainable fire and emergency services.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase