A volunteer firefighter from Alberta is celebrating a remarkable feat.
In September 1951, Robert Mitchell joined the Lamont Fire Department.
“It was out of high school and I didn’t know what I was going to do – go to university, or join the Air Force,” Mitchell recalls.
He stuck it in the lament and now his tenure as a firefighter has put him down in the record books.
Mitchell has completed just under 26,000 days of service, spanning a volunteer career spanning nearly 70 years.
This earned him the honor of being the longest-serving firefighter in Canadian history – surpassing Walter Thomas of Fort Saskatchewan.
“It’s one of the highlights of my life, yes – very, very much so,” said Mitchell.
“Getting 70 years is quite an event. I don’t think people understand how long it is. “
One of Mitchell’s fondest memories over the years is the 1995 hospital fire in Lament.
“We saved a half and we lost a half,” he recalls.
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Mitchell is one of the founding members of Fire Hall No. 4, and it is now named after him.
“He’s dedicated, he’s humble, he’s very wise,” said John Helton, assistant head of the Lamont Fire Department.
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“Everyone is looking at Mitchell,” Helton said.
“The young people in our department – we have people here, the school kids, the juniors – and they just think of Bob’s world,” he said.
“If Bob isn’t here when they get here, they’ll wonder where he is.”
Although Mitchell is almost 90 years old, his dedication has not diminished.
“He’s still able to come and he makes sure he comes every Tuesday night,” Helton explained.
“We practice seven to nine. Bob arrived here at 6:20. “
Mitchell was born and raised in Lamont and raised a family of his own in the area.
Over the years her fellow firefighters have become her second family – a bond she cherishes.
“People who join the fire department are real comrades. You don’t find people like that, “said Mitchell.
“You join the fire department, you have an automatic 25 friends.”
With more than 70 years under his belt, he still has no plans to give it up.
“I feel good,” Mitchell laughed.
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