MINDEMOYA—When Central Manitoulin council approved a recommendation recently from its security, health and education committee that Francine Gosse’s application to join the Central Manitoulin Volunteer Fire Department be accepted—that appointment means there are now three members of the Gosse family serving as members of the volunteer fire department, a true testament to the spirit of volunteerism.
“We moved here in 2008 and a year later I joined the Sandfield Station 3 fire department,” said Phil Gosse. “One of the reasons I joined the first department was that we had just moved up to the Island and I felt ‘what better way to get to know people than to join and volunteer with groups like the fire department?’”
“Obviously, I had watched Phil go through the fire training and I heard about fire calls on the (fire department) radio at home,” said Ms. Gosse. “I know that extra bodies are always needed on the fire department and I decided I wanted to help any way I could. A lot of people work full-time during the day and sometimes work quite a distance from their community, making it harder to respond to fire calls. I am available to help with putting out fires during the day.”
“Like many volunteer firefighters, we like to be behind the scenes,” said Mr. Gosse. Firefighters like to help out their community—they are not in it for the spotlight.”
“We all attend the Mindemoya Missionary Church,” said Mr. Gosse. “I was the property manager for the church, which is 99 percent volunteer work, for six years.”
“We try to help out where we can, we’ve found the people on the Island are so giving and welcoming,” said Mr. Gosse. “We want to just give back and pay it forward.”
Central Manitoulin firefighter Isaac Gosse is one of the couple’s children, along with daughter Emily who works at the Janelle Proulx law firm in Mindemoya, and a son who works at the Royal Bank in Toronto.
“All three of us have been involved in helping out with the Providence Bay Curling Club junior curling program,” said Ms. Gosse. “We find that along with being able to help out, it is a great way to meet people and other parents.”
“It seems we have busier lives now than we did when we lived in London, Ontario,” said Ms. Gosse, who now works full-time at Manitoulin Transport.
Mr. Gosse runs his own business doing renovations and repairs.
While Phil and Francine Gosse are very busy, the same can definitely be said of son Isaac. He is currently the volunteer technical director in charge of sound and lighting and is playing a significant role in revamping the Knox United Church to get it ready for the Burns Wharf Theatre production this year (his father is also helping), is a member of the Central Manitoulin Fire Department and Isaac will be volunteering his services to help with the sound set up for the Manitoulin Country Fest celebrations this year (he has also helped out in past years with the latter).
Isaac, who is 19, told the Recorder, “I haven’t been on the fire department for very long. I started around August (2018), so I haven’t been on the department a year yet. Just long enough to finish my training.”
“Dad has been on the volunteer fire department for years and Perry Keller had been the one that actually suggested that I join,” he said “I know volunteer fire departments do great work and they are always looking for more people to join. So I decided since dad is on the fire department I’ll do it as well, it is great community work.”
Along with volunteering with the fire department, Isaac owns his own business, Up From the Shore Studio, providing the sound at weddings, the Providence Bay Fair and Canada Day in Gore Bay. He is also the head sound guy for the Mindemoya Missionary Church.
“I’ve been with The Island Singers for four years and my mom started this year,” said Isaac. “I also help out at the Mindemoya Missionary Church when needed.
Mr. Gosse noted that there is a job for everyone who wants to be a volunteer firefighter. “There is a role for everyone. I know some people are probably afraid to join, but you can help in many different areas. You receive training the same as the fire chief and being on the fire department is very rewarding.”