A retired Cobourg firefighters children were presented with the Martin. E. Pierce medal honouring their father’s line of duty death.
The ceremony took place at the Cobourg Firehall on Friday, November 10, 2023.
Donald (Don) Medhurst was first hired by the Cobourg Fire Department on July 1, 1969 and was promoted to career firefighter on April 5, 1971.
Medhurst retired from the Cobourg Fire Department as Platoon Chief on March 31, 1999.
Cobourg Fire Department Captain Jeff Briggs who is also President of IAFF Local 1732 presented the medal to Medhurst’s children, Kelly Goody and Bill Medhurst.
Briggs said that Medhurst fought a courageous battle with thyroid cancer and succumbed to his illness on November 12, 2020.
“At that time thyroid cancer was not recognized illness under WSIB presumptive legislation in Ontario,” said Briggs.
Thyroid and pancreatic cancer were added to the WSIB recognized cancer list on March 3, 2023 and a short time later Medhust was approved for the line of duty death and the family and the Cobourg Professional Firefighter’s Association Local 1732 were notified.
As Medhurst is now recognized as a line of duty death his name will be added to the IAFF Memorial wall in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2024, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall in Ottawa in 2024 and his name was added to the Ontario Firefighters Memorial Wall in Toronto this past Fall.
The Martin E. Pierce medal is named after a Boston firefighter who dedicated his life to improving working conditions for firefighters and their families.
“My sister and I are very proud of this,” said Medhurst’s son Bill.
Medhurst was one of the first three firefighters to be hired full-time by the town.
“Because of COVID we weren’t able to celebrate Dad’s accomplishments and passing. This is a real honour for Kelly and I.”
Goody said, “the firefighters were some of his best friends. He had a lot of fun and was really proud of his profession.”
Both siblings are extremely grateful for the efforts of Briggs and his tireless work to honour their father.
Medhurst is the fifth line of duty death for the Cobourg Fire Department and second to succumb to occupational cancer.