Fire department honours retired firefighter, a Westmount Gardens resident, with parade

Paul McPherson had a distinguished career with the fire department, and local firefighters wanted to acknowledge him with a special event
6/26/2020  - Deron Hamel

A distinguished retired firefighter who is now a Westmount Gardens resident was honoured by the London Fire Department on June 1 with a parade that featured fire engines, motorcycles and other vehicles from the department.

Paul McPherson proudly wore his uniform and stood outside Westmount Gardens with staff members from the London, Ont. long-term care community as the parade went past.

Paul waved to the vehicles as they went by, even giving the thumbs-up at times.

This was a very special honour for Paul.

While parades of this sort are usually reserved for firefighters who have passed away, Paul is so well respected by the fire department and by the community his fellow firefighters wanted to do something to honour him during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul’s career with the fire department is marked by several achievements.

Paul, who also goes by the nickname Tex, worked as a diver in northern Ontario and northern Manitoba and was hired as the fire department’s first diver in 1962.

Paul also helped bring CPR training to the London Fire Department.

He even had a spot on the fire department’s calendar twice – once as Mr. September and as Mr. December in another year.

When Paul retired from the fire department he was working as a trainer.

Some years ago, Paul participated in a parade in New York City with firefighters from across the globe, an event he is particularly proud of, says Westmount Gardens life enrichment manager Deb Lines.

Being a firefighter runs in Paul’s family; his son, John, is a firefighter living in Fort McMurray, Alta.

John sent an e-mail to the London Fire Department to thank the firefighters for honouring his dad in such a special way. The e-mail was also sent to Westmount Gardens.

“The fire department is, and shall always be, the spine of his being,” John writes of his father. “What you did today lifted his spirits tremendously at a time when he really needed it, and we cannot thank you enough.

“You are the heroes, and today was proof of your commitment to never leave a brother behind.”

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