Posted on Friday September 14, 2018
New Recruits GFD 2018_Media
New Recruits (l-r) Danielle Ryan, Kat Alizarchyk, Joe Hill, John Patterson, Andrew Ratchford


September 14, 2018




Two Women, Three Men Join the Gravenhurst Team

Gravenhurst, ON – The ranks of firefighters serving the Town of Gravenhurst increased by five on Thursday night as a ceremony to mark the graduation of "the Class of 2018" was held at the Terry Fox Auditorium. Friends and family gathered together to watch as the newest batch of recruit firefighters exchanged their yellow "rookie" helmets for the black helmets of a "regular" firefighter. The group also took an oath of office administered by Department Chaplain, Reverend Jim Sitler.

Deputy Mayor Jeff Watson - himself a former Gravenhurst Firefighter - took turns at the podium along with Fire Chief Larry Brassard, Training Officer Tracy Jocque and special guest Guy Degagne, Principal of the Ontario Fire College to welcome the newest members of the Department.

"Serving your neighbours during their darkest hour is a privilege and an honour; one that will demand a lot of you in the coming years," said Brassard. "But the rewards you will reap in terms of knowing that you helped when no one else could will last a lifetime. You will see things that most people will never, you will do things that most people will never, and you will accomplish things that even you didn’t think you could possibly do."

The recruits themselves paid homage to Training Officer Jocque who has nurtured and guided them over the last year of intensive training. "Without you guiding and helping us every step of the way, I’m not sure any of us would have made it," said firefighter Joe Hill.

The new firefighters have just completed one year of intensive training covering a broad curriculum that included vehicle rescue, first aid and CPR, hazardous materials response and water rescue in addition to a myriad of firefighting related subjects. Many of their training sessions were conducted jointly with recruit firefighters from Bracebridge and Huntsville/Lake of Bays, as part of a collaborative training program that has been operating for several years in Muskoka.

The Department also recognized the promotion of Lieutenant Kyle Steele this last year.  Fifteen and five year service pins were also given out to Captain Rob King and Firefighters Dave Runham and John Haines. Those who left the service in the last year were also recognized.


For more information, please contact,

Larry Brassard, Fire Chief

Town of Gravenhurst



Graduate Brief Bio’s:


Name: Danielle Ryan 

High School Attended: Gravenhurst High School

Post Secondary Education: University of Waterloo - Bachelor of Environmental Studies in International Development

Work: owns/operates a mobile wellness studio instructing private yoga classes and leading mindset coaching sessions.

Misc.:  Plays in the Gravenhurst dodgeball league and lived in Vietnam for a period, assigned at Station 1 Gravenhurst

Name: Katsiaryna (Kat) Alizarchyk

High School Attended: Meadowvale Secondary School

Post Secondary Education: Georgian College (Orillia campus) Police Studies Degree (Honours)

Work: Town of Gravenhurst, Municipal Law enforcement Officer

Misc.: Speaks fluent Russian, assigned at Station 1 Gravenhurst


Name: Joseph Hill

High School: Sir Allan MacNab

Post-Secondary Education: Fire Academy, Houston Texas

Work: Carpenter,

Misc: plays rugby Hamilton Hornets RFC, assigned at Station 1, Gravenhurst

Name: John Paterson

High School Attended: Gravenhurst High School & Newmarket High Schiool

Post Secondary Education: life

Work: Partner & General Manager – Lalonde, Paterson & Associates (Computer Specialists)

Misc.: Assigned at Station 3 - Barkway


Name: Andrew Ratchford

High School Attended: Don Head Secondary School

Post Secondary Education: life

Work: Owner of "A Step Above" (custom staircases)

Misc.: Assigned at Station 3 - Barkway