A warm send-off for retiring Whitney fire chief

WHITNEY – A fire chief who served the Township of South Algonquin for almost 33 years has officially stepped down from the role.

On January 7, during the regular South Algonquin Township council meeting, a retirement party was held for Whitney Fire Chief Brian August.

The celebration started with a presentation by Mayor Jane Dumas, who welcomed the fire chief’s family, friends, and fellow firefighters to the event.  

Dumas was involved in emergency management at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, and said when she was elected to council, she was pleased to find that South Algonquin Township had an effective emergency management plan and fire department. 

The mayor said the role of fire chief is no easy task, and must have taken its toll not only on August, but his family as well over the years.

“Sometimes it’s a 25/7 job [not 24/7]– because you carry it with you all the time,” she said. “When that phone rings at home it’s not just one person affected by that phone call, a whole family is affected. The heart starts pumping and the mind starts wondering – will he come back? What will he face? What will the outcome be of this very treacherous situation?”

Dumas said she is impressed with his commitment to the township and asked for a round of applause from those in the audience to thank August for his volunteer efforts over the years. She then presented him with a plaque from the township, thanking him for his dedicated service.

Councillor Joe Florent said he has worked alongside August for many years. He presented August with a congratulatory plaque on behalf of the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management.
Your commitment to fire and life safety and the leadership you have shown us is sincerely appreciated, the plaque reads. 

Afterwards, John Stubbs, the incoming Whitney fire chief, presented a gift to August on behalf of the crew. Stubbs lives in Whitney and officially took over the position on January 1. 

August, who is two months shy of his 33rd anniversary with the department, is married to Sandra. He has three sons and a young granddaughter. He was born and raised in Whitney. 

He became a firefighter in 1983, when he joined the Township of Airy’s fire department. He worked his way up the ranks and became a “pivotal player” in the township, Mayor Dumas explained. 

He told the Gazette that he joined the department simply because he saw a need. 

“The community needed more help in the way of firefighting,” August said. 


Get your January 13, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.