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ICYMI: Halton Hills recognizes firefighters' accomplishments at competitions

Local firefighters excel at World Police and Fire Games, FireFit World Championships
The Town of Halton Hills recognized six firefighters for their achievements at the Police and Fire World Games and the World FireFit competitions. Pictured, from left, are Hugh Hennessey, Joey McClement, Sue Capper, Halton Hills Mayor Ann Lawlor, Camrynn Seelman, Nick Rowe and Eric Attard.

This article first appeared on HaltonHillsToday Feb. 13.

Sue Capper could hear people calling out to her. 

“You’ve got to go faster,” she heard.

Which is easier said than done if you’re in the final stages of a gruelling obstacle course in full firefighter gear in the Florida sun.

Capper had set the goal of joining the Lions Den, a distinction that only a couple dozen firefighters achieve each year by beating a designated time. As she picked up the 175-pound dummy, she had 46 seconds to drag it 100 feet. She seemed to be losing steam as she hit the halfway mark with just 21 seconds left, but maybe knowing it was her last run of the year, she dug down and picked up the pace. 

She crossed the line in 3:29, beating the Lions Den time by one second.

“I was numb, but it was such a great feeling,” she said.

It was a great way to finish the year, which also saw Capper finish second at the FireFit national championships and third at the world championships in the over-40 age group.

“I just want to keep getting better and better,” Capper said. “I’m addicted to it.”

Capper was one of six Halton Hills firefighters recognized by town council Monday.

Camrynn Seelman said Capper served as an inspiration, both in the fire department and in competition. And while her goal was to simply finish the course, Seelman won the female volunteer division at both the national and world FireFit competitions.

“I’m very competitive,” she said. “This lets me put my training to use in going back to serve the community.”

Four more firefighters were recognized for winning medals at the World Police and Firefighter Games, which drew more than 10,000 competitors from around the world. 

Eric Attard won a bronze medal in the jiu jitsu brown belt division. Attard got his start in jiu jitsu as a way to round out his abilities while fighting professionally in mixed martial arts. When he retired – “You can’t get hit in the face forever,” he said with a laugh – he continued with jiu jitsu. 

“I love combat sports and jiu jitsu is like a chess match. It’s physical and mental at the same time.”

Attard and fellow fighter Hugh Hennessey sparred together in preparation for the competition. Hennessey said Attard’s experience was valuable in helping him win silver medals in both the gi and no gi divisions. 

“He’s at a higher level so he knows the mistakes I was making and how to correct them,” Hennessey said. 

There was one obstacle Attard could not prepare him for, though. Hennessey broke his finger on the first day of competition in the gi division. He battled through the injury to earn another silver medal on the second day. 

Nick Rowe also won a silver medal in wrestling. He began wrestling in high school and went on to compete at Brock University. He continues to train with the Badgers. 

Competing in the 70 kg class, Rowe beat wrestlers from France, the U.S. and Cambodia to reach the final, where he was beaten by an opponent from India. 

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I was there for the opening ceremonies. It was just like a mini Olympics.”

Joey McClement earned a bronze medal in field lacrosse playing with a team of Ontario firefighters. 

McClement picked up a lacrosse stick more than 20 years ago, fell in love with the sport and went on to play at Trent University.

A long pole defender, McClement said Ontario faced some skilled opponents at the games.

“There was lots of Division I talent (the highest level of college sports) from the States, so we were competing at a very high level.”


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Herb Garbutt

About the Author: Herb Garbutt

Herb Garbutt has lived in Halton HIlls for 30 years. During that time he has worked in Halton Region covering local news and sports, including 15+ years in Halton Hills
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