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Chief Addresses Girl Scouts - GFD - 03/12/2007


Chief invited to address the Girl Scouts

Chief Sue Labrie addressing a group of Girl Scouts at the Williamsburg Congregational Church.

WILLIAMSBURG - Chief Sue Labrie was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of local Girl Scouts and their families at the Williamsburg Congregational Church.  The group had gotten together to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America which began in Savanah Georgia in 1912.  Here is what Sue had to share with the group: 


"I would like to thank you for inviting me here tonight.  My name is Sue Labrie.  I am the Fire Chief of the Goshen Fire Department.  I’d like to introduce my family, my husband, Bob, and my daughters, Sarah, Alyssa and Hannah.  It is an honor to speak to such a wonderful group.  I say that because it is obvious the parents in this room take a great interest in the lives of their daughters and that these daughters are involved in an organization that tries to make the world a better place."


"Girls today can do anything.  You no longer hear the words “you can’t do that, you’re a girl.”  Women today do everything from running large companies to helping run the country - from flying in outer space, to firefighting and everything in between.  There is nothing you can’t do if you put your heart into it.  Life is full of opportunities you only have to have the courage and confidence to give new things a try."


"As a girl in high school, I liked to run and to ski.  My school didn’t have a girl’s cross-county running team or a girls ski team, so I joined the boy’s teams.  I was welcomed on the teams as I did well for them.  I joined the fire department in 1989 with no background in firefighting.  I was a computer systems analyst who sat at a desk in front of a computer.  However, I wanted to make a difference and give back to the community I had moved into.  I was immediately welcomed by the other volunteer firefighters.  They saw I could pull my own weight and I became a valued member of the department.  17 years later, when the opportunity arose, I became the chief because I felt I could make an even bigger difference in that position.  As the chief, I am trying to make my community safer through public education and pre-incident plans.  I am also trying to make my firefighters safer through training, obtaining new equipment and establishing operating guidelines.  I was a Girl Scout."


"Today, Girl Scouting is kicking off “Make the World a Better Place Week”.  What a great theme.  When you go hiking or camping in the woods it’s best to “leave no trace”.  That is not true when it comes to living your life.  I have been trying to “leave a trace” through my years of teaching fire and life safety to children and adults.  I have to believe that in 10 years of teaching prevention, I have made a difference.  I know that my students have used what they learned to prevent fires and injuries.  I hear it all the time from their parents.  For instance, a parent will stop me at the post office to let me know their child told them to move things away from the wood stove or to unplug the toaster or coffee maker when they were done with it.  I tell them their child was right and did what I taught them and I am proud of them.  Then the parent seems proud of their child too for listening, learning and applying their knowledge to keep their family safe."


"Through my activities with the fire department I feel I have helped make the world a better place and it makes me feel great.  I hope that through scouting and the support of your families you will build the self-confidence to try new things, that you will look around you for new opportunities to learn and that you have the courage make your dreams come true."


(Monday, March 12, 2007)