Honouring a special couple

by | Jun 14, 2024

Woodstock Fire Department and community recognize beloved couple’s more than a half-century of service

While they’re a quiet, unassuming couple, Harold and Angela McLellan’s contribution to the Woodstock Fire Department over the past half-century spoke louder than any blaring fire truck siren. 

The size of the crowd and the upbeat atmosphere it created during the open house in Sam’s Room at the AYR Motor Centre on Saturday afternoon, June 1, demonstrated the community’s deep respect for Fire Chief Harold McLellan and his wife Angela’s long-service devotion to the Woodstock Ladies Auxiliary. 

Members of the Woodstock Fire Department and the WFD Ladies Auxiliary, the McLellan family, Woodstock residents, town officials, representatives of three levels of government and close friends joined to celebrate Harold’s and Angela’s 50 years of service. 

Chief McLellan, currently several years into his second term as fire chief, remains modest in the face of the broad appreciation and praise for his knowledge, service and commitment to the department. 

The couple’s contributions to the fire department and the Ladies Auxiliary began more than 50 years ago. Angela explained she joined the auxiliary about six months after Harold became a volunteer firefighter. 

Harold and Angela McLellan shared the day with friends and family, including their children, from left, Carina, Haldon, and Jared. (Sabrina Guitard Monteith photo)

They both witnessed plenty of change over the past 50 years, with increased numbers and sophistication in firefighting equipment, training, and responsibilities. As an auxiliary member, Angela helped raise funds to purchase the equipment and support the firefighters as they trained to use it. 

“When I joined we had a ‘66 cab-over fire truck and a pumper,” he said.

Today, the department’s fire hall can no longer house the equipment used to protect Woodstock area residents from fire, accidents, and other perils. 

As a child, Harold said he seemed destined to become a volunteer firefighter, following in the footsteps of his father, Gerald McLellan, who spent 40 years with the department. 

He said he joined the department as a firefighter after spending three years in the Sparkies, which he described as the department’s junior program at the time.

Several members of the McLellan family, including brothers and children, have served or are currently serving the fire department. 

“We did some calculations,” Harold said. “We figured our family combined for at least 142 years of service.”

Carleton MLA Bill Hogan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development presents the McLellans with certificates of appreciation from himself, Premier Blaine Higgs, and Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre. (Sabrina Guitard Monteith photo)

Harold and Angela’s family members, including children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews, were among the many filling Sam’s Room for the three-hour celebration. 

The humble couple accepted several gifts, plaques, and hugs from an appreciative community. The Woodstock Fire Department honoured their leader by presenting him with a painting by artist Jennie Weeks of Chief McLellan holding his beloved Dalmatian puppy. 

The Town of Woodstock presented the couple with an award inscribed “presented to Chief Harold & Anglea McLellan in appreciation of 50 years of dedicated service to the Woodstock Fire Department and Woodstock Ladies Auxiliary,” dated June 2024. 

Carleton MLA and Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan presented the couple with certificates of appreciation on behalf of himself, Premier Blaine Higgs and federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. 

Hogan said the McLellans epitomize service to their community.

On behalf of the Woodstock Fire Department members, Ryan Gould presents the McLellans with a portrait of Chief McLellan and his Dalmatian pup, Ember, painted by artist Jennie Weeks. (Photo by Sabrina Guitard Monteith of Sabrina’s Profession Photography)

“What a commitment to the town,” he said. 

While appreciative of the special acknowledgement, the McLellans expressed their appreciation for the many firefighters and auxiliary members who served alongside them over the past half-century. 

They each noted the strength of the organizations reflects the widespread dedication within the community they serve. 

The gang’s all here! Members of the Woodstock Fire Department were on hand to congratulate their chief on his impressive accomplishment. (Sabrina Guitard Monteith photo)

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have successfully subscribed! A confirmation email has been sent to your email account. To complete your subscription, open the email and click on the confirmation link. (If you can't find it in your inbox, try your junk and spam folders.) If you'd like to receive our updates more than once a week, please click the "Manage your subscription" link at the bottom of your Newsletter.