Harold Conrad, a Lunenburg County firefighting stalwart, dead at 91

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SOURCE: J. McKEE, CANADIAN VOLUNTEER FIRE SERVICES ASSOCIATION</p><p>Decorated Lunenburg County volunteer firefighter Harold Conrad. The long-time Hebbville responder died June 24 at the age of 91.</p>

Harold Arthur Conrad, a stalwart of Lunenburg County's volunteer fire service community, died June 24 in a Bridgewater hospital. He was 91.

"I believe he was one of Nova Scotia's strongest fire officers I ever met in my 45-plus years in the fire service and truly was a sincere leader," commented Martin Bell, a former chief of the Conquerall Bank volunteer fire department who knew Conrad during his time as Hebbville's fire chief.

"Harold was a good manager and always paid attention to details. If he did not agree with you he would say so but he would always tell you why."

Bell is also the chief administrator of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association, a national organization that honoured Conrad with the group's first lifetime achievement award, in 2010.

Conrad, originally of the Annapolis Valley, enjoyed a variety of roles with first-response agencies. He was a member of the Kingston volunteer fire department, an officer with the Bridgewater volunteer fire department, and an officer, chief and life-time member in Hebbville during a long tenure devoted to unpaid assistance.

"Harold was involved in the creation of the South Shore Mutual Aid Association, an active member of both the Maritime and Atlantic Fire Chiefs Associations, and an honorary life member of the Fire Officers Association of Nova Scotia," reads a published obituary. "He received the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal and Long Service Medal, the 125 Anniversary of Confederation Medal, [and] the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal."

Conrad's love for the fire service was evident when he spoke to LighthouseNOW in an interview in 2012.

"I enjoy it," he said of his reasons for staying involved. "The guys accept me, and as long as I'm contributing or feel that I'm contributing I'm going to do it."

"He was perhaps most proud of being part of creating Nova Scotia's Critical Incident Stress program," reads the obituary, "and creating supports for fire fighters impacted by their experiences.

Former Hebbville fire chief, Chris Kennedy, remembers his former colleague fondly.

"Harold was one of those guys who were always there and always present for all events related to the fire department," Kennedy told LighthouseNOW.

"Calls, practices and any other events you could count on him being there no matter what. Harold had a wealth of knowledge and passed it on whenever the chance arose ... he was a true friend, leader and mentor, and we had many good times together."

Conrad's professional life saw him work two decades in a parts department of a vehicle dealership and, after moving to the South Shore in the late 1960s, as an instructor at the vocational school in Lunenburg County.

"Following his retirement, he worked for a number of years at Gow's Home Hardware [in] Bridgewater and over the past few years enjoyed part-time work delivering vehicles for a number of local car dealers," reads the obituary.

Conrad also "served as a captain in the army reserves with the West Nova Scotia Regiment and was honoured to be chosen to receive the Regimental Colours in a presentation ceremony in 1959."

As well, he was involved with Bridgewater United Church, Hebbville Village Commission, and was also known to enjoy gardening, camping, bowling, darts, antique cars, and cottage life.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Conrad is survived by several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The public is invited to make donations in his memory to their local volunteer fire department or the Health Services Foundation of the South Shore.

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