Community members in Shelburne County took hospitality to the next level earlier this week when they quickly arranged a 60th birthday dinner for an American firefighter who battled a massive wildfire in the area.
Kevin Pezanowski, who is from New Hampshire, had traveled to Nova Scotia last week with a crew of about 17 firefighters from the northeastern United States to help fight the blaze.
Nick Brand, who had volunteered serving breakfast to firefighters at the local arena, said he was in the right place at the right time when he heard about the firefighter’s milestone birthday on Monday.
“A firefighter named Lily, she came up to me and just told me it was Kevin’s 60th birthday,” Brand told CBC Radio’s Information Morning Nova Scotia.
“And she’d heard we’re pretty famous for lobsters and asked if we could do something for his birthday that night.”
Brand asked Lily how many people would be there and then said, “Leave it to me.”
From there, Brand texted a friend who immediately donated 25-30 lobsters and his roaster and pan to cook it in. He also sent a message to the community.
Before he knew it, another local who works at the Sandy Point Lighthouse donated supplies to serve the lobster, while others offered to cook.
He said someone also donated their “famous” cookies along with some salads. Moe’s Shake Shack, a local ice cream shop, even served an ice cream cake, he said.
“It’s pretty easy to find people to help out here in the city right now,” he said.
Brand said the owners of an old diner offered their space to serve dinner so the firefighters wouldn’t have to eat lobster in the arena.
Information morning – NS7:24Shelburne volunteers host a lobster dinner for an American firefighter’s birthday
He said Pezanowski and the other firefighters were surprised to see the special birthday dinner after a full day of battling the wildfire.
“They came back and showered and went downstairs and were pretty happy to have a lobster waiting for them,” Brand said.
Brand said he was happy to do this for Pezanowski and his fellow firefighters.
“I was lucky not to be evacuated from my home and there are so many of us who just wanted to do something to help, to pay back the firefighters who are here to save our community,” he said.
“So it was nice to have something to focus on on Monday.”
Day has a special meaning
Monday 5 June was also his goddaughter Carmen’s birthday.
She was born in 2010, but passed away in 2016 when she was only five years old.
“So every year on her birthday, and then also on the date she died in January, the community generally does acts of kindness and pays it forward and (that) wasn’t even something I thought about at the time,” he said.
“But it’s one of those things that probably wasn’t a coincidence. It was probably something meant to do something nice for others.”