KENTVILLE – “I think that’s why I fell in love with him – his dedication to helping people,” says Martha MacQuarrie, who owes falling for late husband Brian Kingsbury to his firefighting.
She says she was “done” after seeing his love for volunteer firefighting – how he’d jump to answer his pager as a call came through, and leap to action once he knew he was needed.
“You knew to not get in the way, because he was hitting the ground running,” she laughs.
Kingsbury, known to many as ‘Bones,’ served with the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years.
Kingsbury joined the force in 1980 after moving to Kentville with his family. He passed away suddenly on May 15, 2015 after being diagnosed with cancer caused by smoke exposure while firefighting.
He will be honoured alongside other fallen firefighters at a memorial service Sept. 9 at the Canadian Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa, which forty-four of his family members, including his wife Martha MacQuarrie, their children and his parents, will attend.
“He deserves to be on this memorial – it’s certainly an additional honour for him. He would really like seeing everyone come together for this, I think,” said Al Kingsbury, Brian’s father.
Kentville fire chief Brian Desloges will also attend the ceremony on behalf of the department, and says the late firefighter’s presence is still felt at the department, where he was a vital part of their ladder crew.
He says Kingsbury, who’d become a captain, was responsible for mentoring nearly all new recruits over the past 15 years, and always led by example.
“There’s a gap there, since Brian passed. When you have a guy with that kind of tenure, it leaves a massive hole,” he says.
“He served longer than most generally do... and it took about a year to get back in stride with the pace he set at the ladder company.”
Firefighting was a family affair for Brian – he was joined at the Kentville department by his brother, Ken, and his daughter, Sarah, who has since taken up firefighting as well.
MacQuarrie says Kingsbury remains a source of inspiration not just for his daughter, but to so many others at the department.
“It’s amazing to see the effect he’s had on so many people. I just think everyone should want to be like Brian – I’m beyond words at how proud I am of him,” she says.
“Next to his family and his kids, firefighting was the love of his life.”
The 2018 Memorial Ceremony will take place Sept. 9th at 10:30 AM. Kingsbury’s name has already been etched into the memorial wall.