The Reserve Mines Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating the results of a photo contest this weekend- even though they dropped out of the contest last week.

While firefighters are well known for helping each out, Reserve Mines has taken that attitude to the next level, giving up its shot at a $5000 cash prize in a photo contest to help out another N.S. fire department in need.

It all started with a photo, a stunning shot of the Reserve Mines Volunteer Fire Department, entered into a ‘Fire Hall Photo Campaign’ contest put on by AA Munro Insurance.

“(The photo) turned out fantastic,” says Reserve Mines Fire Chief Jeff Aucoin. “As soon as we posted it on the contest, it just took off.”

Reserve Mines quickly moved into the lead in the online voting, and were already planning to use the money to buy some much-needed new equipment.

“Right now we’re in the process of purchasing some new turnout gear, and we’re also looking at the possibility of maybe a new vehicle, so both of those items come at a high price tag,” says Aucoin.

But when they saw that the Smith’s Cove Fire Department in Digby County, N.S. was in second place in the contest, and realized they didn’t have nearly enough equipment, Aucoin had a change of heart.

Aucoin talked it over with his department and they decided to drop out of the contest, asking people to vote for Smith’s Cove instead.

“It was actually a pretty good feeling, because we were helping a department that needed that money a lot more than we do,” said Aucoin.

Smith’s Cove went on to win the $5000 Grand Prize, which is being hailed as a victory for volunteer firefighting across the province.

Aucoin said it was his pleasure to congratulate the Smith’s Cove Fire Chief.

“They’re just so thankful. They can’t believe that another department would step aside, and basically hand them $5000,” said Aucoin.

That has created a bond between the two fire departments, but Aucoin says they simply followed the unwritten code of firefighters helping firefighters.

“Everybody always says to pay it forward. I think we’ve done our part in paying it forward, and hopefully other departments take note and are able to do the same thing.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the bond created by these two photos is worth so much more.

The bond that’s now created between the two departments is pretty priceless.