This year marked the last for Ray Francis as chairman of the South Saskatchewan First Responder Committee (SSFRC), but not the last that he will attend the committee’s annual conference.
“I’ve promised people after talking to them last night ... I assured them that there’s no way they could hold me back (from this event), even if I’ve got to pay my $130 for entry, just like they do,” said Francis, who has retired from the committee after 13 years.
But Francis departs his post following what he believes has been a strong conference.
“We’ve had other (conferences) that have been real highlights,” Francis said.
“We did a 10 year anniversary conference a few years ago and it was probably our best, but this one is right up there with that one.”
This year, more than 160 guests registered to attend, Francis said, meaning numbers were “up a bit from last year.”
The gains are the result of hard work, Francis said.
“We’ve always strived to move ahead, move forward and improve each and every year. That’s sometimes hard to do because we’ve been doing it so long and it is done, in my opinion, very well,” Francis said, adding that he’s “happy to see everyone come in from all across the province.”
The vacancy left by Francis will be filled by Bill Cook, who has also served on the committee. Francis had some parting words of advice for Cook.
“Don’t get used too used to your bed, because you don’t get a whole lot of sleep,” he said.
“There’s a whole lot of work to do, but strive through it. No matter how well the weekend is prepared, it will happen. You’re working with a tremendous committee, and even if (they) never had a meeting until the day of the conference, I’m sure it would all fall into place.”