Community, fire service mourns death of beloved deputy chief


  • <p>SOURCE: FACEBOOK/BLOCKHOUSE & DISTRICT FIRE DEPARTMENT</p><p>John Walters, a long-time member and senior officer with the Blockhouse volunteer fire department, died May 29 at age 43.</p>

"Can you hang on a second? It's one of our firefighters."

Well wishers have steadily been dropping off monetary donations bound for the family of John Walters at Paula MacDonald's place, including during a phone call with LighthouseNOW.

Walters was a deputy chief of the Blockhouse volunteer fire department. MacDonald is the chief. Both families are close friends outside of the fire station and comrades in the emergency services community.

"John was one of those amazing people who was very quiet; he did things quietly but he was so loving and caring," MacDonald told LighthouseNOW.

She is overheard greeting a man and thanking him before returning to the call.

"The outpouring, the messages, the emails, the Facebook messages, have been out of this world," remarked MacDonald.

The fire department is among those mourning the sudden loss of Walters, who died May 29 at the age of 43.

Walters, a married father of three, was an experienced carpenter and worked several years as a supervisor for an Italy Cross company before recently taking a senior post with another construction firm.

Many in his community remember him as a long-time volunteer firefighter, having served for about 15 years in Blockhouse with several of those in the senior ranks.

In the days following his death, MacDonald has learned that Walters's mentoring, all in his low-key style, has left a positive influence on many of the fire department's members.

A published obituary described Walters as "a hard worker and an incredible friend."

He is also remembered for his quirky sense of humour.

"John has now forwarded his last tasteless internet joke (check your spam folder, but don't open them at work) but his sense of humour and his laugh will not be forgotten," reads the obituary, posted online.

For one, MacDonald will cherish memories of weekend lakeside campfires and chats with Walters.

He is remembered for his love of the outdoors and willingness to help others.

"I just think everyone will remember his heart," MacDonald explained. "He had the biggest heart of anybody."

Firefighters in Blockhouse established a fundraising effort to honour Walters's memory and to help his family through a difficult period.

Thousands of dollars already have been raised, MacDonald said, and some neighbouring fire services plan to donate 50-50 draw proceeds.

Cheques made out to the Walters Fund can be mailed to the Blockhouse volunteer fire department. To make arrangements to drop off a cash donation, contact 902-527-8276 ahead of time.

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