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Owen Sheardown memorial car wash a huge success

September 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Members of the Orangeville Fire Department this past weekend hosted a special car wash fundraiser in honour of one of their fallen brothers.

Approximately two dozen local firefighters came together on Saturday (Sept. 8) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orangeville Fire Hall on Dawson Road to raise money for the family of Owen Sheardown, who passed away on Feb. 26 following a short battle with cancer. In total, they managed to raise more than $6,000. 

Despite only being with the department “for a short time”– just under five years – Orangeville Fire Chief Ron Morden said Owen made a huge impression locally.

“We hire new people year, after year, after year. Some firefighters come and go, some move to different areas, some get hired on full-time elsewhere, so we do go through quite a roster of firefighters at times,” Chief Morden told the Citizen. “But there’s always a few that really stick with you. Owen was one of those guys. He was here for a short time, just under five years, but he made a great impact on our whole department.”

As a volunteer with the Fire Department, Mr. Sheardown was fully trained in all aspects of firefighting. He specialized in auto extrication, becoming so well-versed that he was tasked with teaching his fellow firefighters about the different tools and techniques involved in that aspect of the job.

Chief Morden described Owen as a sponge – wanting to absorb as much information and knowledge as possible during his time with the local department.

“I’d describe him as quite an inquisitive guy. As a recruit, he was here three days a week training. We would provide knowledge of the skills required to do the job, directions on operating equipment, but that never satisfied Owen. He always wanted to dive deeper into why a tool was designed, who designed it and what its purpose was. He wanted to know the fine details of everything.”

He added, “He would ask me questions at times, and even with my 35 years of experience I’d tell him I’d have to look up the answer and get back to him. He was a professional who really brought out the best in others and helped them to learn new things along the way.”

A self-employed IT specialist during the day, Owen was always on the lookout for new technology that could help the department improve in its firefighting capabilities. Chief Morden recounts many instances when Mr. Sheardown would walk into his office and ask about certain pieces of equipment, some of which the chief says didn’t exist at the time.

“If ever I said, ‘Owen, I don’t believe there is a piece of equipment that does that job,’ he would go home and do his research. In one particular instance, he came back six hours later with a brand new tool made. He was quite inventive.”

When Chief Morden first learned of Owen’s sickness and, subsequently, his passing, he knew the department had lost one of its leaders. More importantly, a family had lost its figurehead.

In his passing, Mr. Sheardown left behind three children – Makayla, Evander and Logan and two stepchildren – Addison and Carly. He died just two days after his 42nd birthday.

Now, with Owen gone, Chief Morden says his second family wants to do whatever it can to “do right” by one of their brothers.

“For our firefighters, this is a second family for them. There’s nobody else you can trust more than your fellow firefighters. When you go into a fire, or an emergency scene, you have to know the person behind you has your back. That’s what we have right now, we have Owen’s back now he’s gone,” Chief Morden said. “We’re keeping his memory alive. Hopefully he’s looking down and seeing us looking after his kids.”

He added, “They have many years of changes to come, as far as going through school, colleges and universities. We want to make sure we provide some type of assistance in Owen’s absence.”

         

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