HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt and District Fire Department was proud to honour 160 combined years of firefighting with their department’s annual awards night.
Mike Kwasnica, Humboldt’s fire chief, said they had a small and intimate ceremony this year at The Elizabeth on March 14 with six awards given out for years of exemplary service.
This experience is invaluable to the department, Mike said, since experience cannot replace training.
“That’s a lot of knowledge that comes with that, as well as, when they do retire, that’s a big gap that they leave... That’s a lot of experience you can’t replace overnight.”
Two 40 year awards were also given out to two retired firefighters, Joe Dutchak and Daryl Hushagen.
For Dutchak, leaving the department after 42 years of firefighting was a difficult decision. He started helping the department during the St. Augustine School fire and hasn’t stopped.
“They figured I was handy enough to have around so they asked if I would join,” Dutchak said.
Even after retirement, Dutchak has continued working with the department on their history website. The department is like family, he said.
“You’re never without a helping hand. There’s always someone to help you do something if you need. It was just part of that brotherhood.”
As a member of the department, he hopes he gave the Humboldt community some piece of mind, he said.
Also to receive an award was Tyler Kwasnica for Firefighter of the Year.
Tyler always puts in the extra effort, Mike said, and spending a lot of extra time volunteering around the community.
“His attitude around the hall, his ability and willingness to help out and just showing his interest with the fire department,” Mike said, made him the perfect candidate for the award.
Growing up in a fire department family with father, Mike, firefighting has always been a big part of his life, he said.
Giving what he can back to the community is an award in itself, he said, especially when he is encouraging others to join the department.
Tyler said that with his firefighter training, he is more confident in being the person people can turn to in times of need.
Retired Captain Joe Dutchak: 40 year Exemplary Award
Retired Firefighter Daryl Hushagen: 40 year Exemplary Award
Firefighter Rick Cadrain: 30 year pin
Firefighter Jamie Dyok: 20 year pin
Firefighter of the Year: Tyler Kwasnica
FF Robert Dufault: 15 year pin
FF David Holiday: 15 year pin