Retired fire chief earns award, wants back in
Rick Mousseau is a retired firefighter who just can’t sit idly by and watch the young guys do all the work.
Last month, the 59-year-old former chief of the Didsbury Fire Department was honoured in Calgary when he received a second award of the Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal in recognition of 30 years of loyal and exemplary service to public security in Canada. It was given to him by Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Donald Ethell on behalf of Canadian Governor General David Johnston.
“I was really excited to get it,” said Mousseau, who served as Didsbury’s volunteer fire chief for 18 years before being forced to retire due to a problematic and painful left knee condition.
“Thirty years is a lot to give to a community. I really enjoyed it,” added Mousseau who received his first medal after serving 20 years.
The part he loved the most about being a firefighter was saving lives and property, seeing the expressions of relief from friends and neighbours when he and his crew members showed up at a scene to put out a fire.
“I hated to give it up. I want to give back to the community,” he said.
Of course Mousseau is still giving back to the community. He is a member of town council. And he has a full-time job waiting for him at Auto Parts Plus in Olds. But he misses being a fireman.
Last month he had surgery to correct his knee problem and already he is feeling better than he had been for many years.
“It is getting better every day,” said Mousseau of his knee since the surgery.
He is under doctor’s orders to rest from his surgery for at least six months and maybe as long as a year. After that? He would like to see if there is still room for him in the fire department. Mousseau is not looking to go back as chief but with his vast experience as a firefighter he feels he still has much to add to the department, particularly for the younger crew members.
“It was a really tough, a tough choice to make,” said Mousseau of retiring last year. “If they needed me I’d go back, just anything to do with firefighting. I would do it. I really miss working with the guys, the camaraderie. That is what I miss the most.”
And already he has support for a possible return. Mayor Brian Wittal said Mousseau would be a valuable asset for the local fire department to utilize.
“The fire department is always looking for volunteers,” said Wittal. “Certainly the town and the fire department would be happy to have him come back in one of those volunteer roles.”