New Canaan firefighters on Saturday practiced water rescues at Mead Park, rehearsing drills that save the lives of people, pets and wildlife. Firefighters execute water rescues from one to five times per year, according to Russ Kimes III, assistant chief of the New Canaan Fire Company No. 1. “Obviously, New Canaan has a fair number of bodies of water,” Kimes told NewCanaanite.com. “We ended up getting called out just after doing that drill,” he added.
For Tyler Nash, a former U.S. Army infantry officer who served for nearly seven years, primarily with the 75th Ranger Regiment and 10th Mountain Division, the two things that make the contributions of veterans so special are conviction and love. Citing a 1906 quote from President Teddy Roosevelt, that “a just war is in the long run far better for a man’s soul than the most prosperous peace,” Nash on Wednesday morning told a crowd of more than 100 people gathered at God’s Acre for the town’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, “This isn’t a quote that advocates for violence or war.”
Roosevelt followed by saying, “We should as a nation do everything in our power for the cause of honorable peace,” Nash said, addressing residents, town officials, police, firefighters and EMTs wearing masks and spaced apart before the Wayside Cross (itself a WWI memorial) on a warm, overcast day. “But it is a a quote about conviction,” Nash said. “The United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We were created as a nation to face and overcome obstacles head-on as a unified people, and whether known or not, we represent the hopes and dreams of people all over the world.
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday appointed Russ Kimes and Phil Sheibley as the new volunteer director and deputy director of emergency management in New Canaan, respectively. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan thanked Fire Chief Jack Hennessy for stepping into the leadership role after longtime Emergency Management Director Mike Handler’s June 3 ouster during the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Especially through Tropical Storm Isaias, Jack, I really appreciated and the town appreciated your service and leadership during the storm,” Moynihan said during the Board’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. “That was quite a ride for a week.”
He referred to last month’s storm that knocked out power to more than three-quarters of the town, many for several days. Kimes is a lifelong town resident, U.S. Marine veteran and commander of VFW Post 653.
This week on 0684-Radi0, our free weekly podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), Assistant Chief Russ Kimes of New Canaan Fire Company No. 1. Kimes is a lifelong town resident and former U.S. Marine. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:
Saying they need to improve recruitment and retention, leaders from New Canaan Fire Co. No. 1 and New Canaan Emergency Medical Services are asking the town to offer members incentives such as tax abatement, Waveny Pool membership and use of the Transfer Station. Surrounding towns already offer plusses such as property tax relief, pool passes and fuel reimbursement to volunteer emergency responders, according to New Canaan Fire Co. Assistant Chief Russ Kimes and New Canaan EMS Capt. Phil Sheibley.
The volunteer ranks of their organizations have declined, as they have elsewhere, and now stand at record or near-record lows, Kimes and Sheibley told members of the Town Council at their March 24 meeting.