Winner: Mathieu Lemery

Nominated by: Luc Lemery

Congratulations to one of our First Responders of the Year for 2020: Volunteer Firefighter Mathieu Lemery, with the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department. Mat was nominated by his father, Luc Lemery.

“He is young and devoted to the community,” says Luc, “He is very dedicated and takes his work seriously, even though it is volunteer work. Very impressed and proud of my son.”

Mat, who turned 30 in December, originally hails from Hammond, ON. He is currently living in Rockland with his girlfriend, Melanie, and her family while she finishes university. Since moving to Rockland, Mat has grown to cherish the bustling community.

“I think the Clarence-Rockland community is a great one,” Mat says. “People respect each other and really come together as one, especially when events such as floods occur.”

Mat enjoys attending charity events with the Fire Department throughout the year, such as McHappy Day, when the team serves coffee and Big Macs in uniform at the McDonalds drive-thru to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Mat also participates in an annual “boot drive,” which helps raise money for people in the community with Muscular Dystrophy.

“He will always find the time to get involved with the community and lend a hand, even between his full-time work,” says his father Luc. And it’s true – Mat does navigate a busy schedule, but he says he wouldn’t change it for the world.

Mat began working with the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department in June 2018. Since then, he has been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He has attended calls for everything from house fires to car accidents alongside the Prescott-Russell Paramedics and the OPP. Every two weeks, Mat dedicates his time to training with the Fire Department.

However, his role as a first responder doesn’t end with volunteer firefighting. Mat also works full-time at the University of Ottawa with the campus Protection Services. Working closely alongside Ottawa Police Services, Ottawa Paramedics and Ottawa Fire Services, the Protection Services team is first on the scene whenever there is an issue with security, such as a suspicious person on campus, a fire alarm or even a medical emergency.

“There are over 40,000 people on campus every day and our team is here to protect each and every one of them,” Mat says. “I really enjoy keeping the people safe, and talking with the community here on campus is great.”

Mat says that one of his biggest inspirations in his decision to become a First Responder is his mother, who is a social worker. Since childhood, Mat has wanted to follow in her footsteps by helping people. Before going into the security field, he worked in group homes for five years.

But the real catalyst that set him on this path was when his family home burned down in 2003. Mat was in grade eight at the time, about to begin high school. The family had to stay with friends and even moved into a retirement residence in Rockland while they looked for an apartment.

“The teachers and kids at our school raised some money to buy me and my younger brother bicycles,” Mat says. “Each and every student in school signed a book with a little message, which I still have at home. It was a small gesture that made the biggest difference in our lives.”

From that moment on, Mat knew that he wanted to spend his life helping his community the way they had helped his family when they needed it most.

“The thing I love most is that I get to meet new people who are also volunteers and make new acquaintances,” says Mat. “This community has a great heart and I would love to stay around longer to see it grow.”


Photo submitted by Mathieu Lemery (pictured: middle)

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