The Campbell River Fire Department held its annual award ceremony on Feb. 28, 2019 at the Tidemark Theatre. Current firefighters, retirees and others recognized at the event are pictured here. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River firefighters honoured at awards ceremony

Event recognized long-serving members and new recruits

At about 7:45 p.m. on Thursday night, a firefighter’s portable radio beeped loudly in the Tidemark Theatre as a signal came in from the dispatch centre.

A crew of four firefighters who were sitting near an exit at the back of the hall immediately left to respond to an emergency.

There was a murmur in the crowd, and the firefighters’ annual awards ceremony continued without missing a beat.

It’s all part of the job, said Ian Baikie, who retired as fire chief last year.

“The job is all about doing the work when the work is in front of you,” he said during a reception in the lobby following the ceremony.

“Whether you’re an auxiliary member or career member, when the pager goes off, you go.”

Baikie and four other retirees – Roger Barriault, Mike Modras, Paula Ripley and Ed Stawski – were honoured at the ceremony, receiving a standing ovation from crowd. Baikie was also recognized for his service as local assistant to the fire commissioner.

Dignitaries included MP Rachel Blaney, Mayor Andy Adams, Coun. Michele Babchuk and B.C. Fire Commissioner Gordon Anderson, along with senior city management officials. Speakers praised the firefighters for their work.

“Whether it’s motor vehicle accidents, to fires or hazardous spill containment, you guys do it all,” said Adams in a speech.

“Often you’re helping people through some of the most traumatic, upsetting moments of their life,” said Blaney, adding that the role played by families in supporting firefighters is also crucial.

READ MORE: Campbell River resident praises firefighters following furnace fire

READ MORE: Campbell River firefighters reunite small dog with child after quelling blaze

READ MORE: No injuries after collapsed floor traps worker at former mill in Campbell River – fire chief

Thomas Doherty, who took over as fire chief in July, stressed the importance of contributions from auxiliary and career firefighters past and present, along with staff including dispatchers and the fire inspector.

Support from city management, mayor and council, and the provincial and federal governments is also crucial, Doherty said.

“We are all part of the same team.”

The event recognized new auxiliary recruit graduates – James Danylchuk, Steve Eikeland, Jody Hagel and Daniel Martin – who received a distinctive black helmet to replace the yellow one used in training.

The event also ushered in a new batch of members, including Lee Archibald, Stephanie Bremer, Thierry Gendron, Andy Michaluk, Matthew Moore and Nicholas Olson.

Also recognized were members of the new recruit class, including Clayton Beier, Cody Gent, Addison George, Joshua McLennan, Lee Simmons and Hunter Yon.

Fire Service Awards, consisting of a bar worn on the sleeve of formal jackets and a pin for day-to-day uniforms, went to firefighters in five-year increments of service, whether served in Campbell River or at another fire department.

For five years of service, awards went to Jeremy Fyfe, James Hope, Anthony Reynolds and Cameron Trace; for 10 years of service to Ben Charlton; for 15 years of service to Jeff Monks; for 20 years of service to Andy Stewart and Jamie Willis; for 25 years of service to Scott Kratzmann and Mike Modras; and for 30 years of service to John Baker, Roger Barriault, Rick Bates, Mark McKenzie, John Vaton and Reid Wharton.

The 25-year firefighters also received the B.C. Long Service Medal, while the 20-year and 30-year veterans received the federal Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.

Modras and Barriault also received honorary badges marking more than 10 years of service with the No. 1 Fire Hall Association, which organizes social and charity events.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Clarification: An earlier version of this article stated that “(p)erhaps five or six firefighters” responded to an emergency during the ceremony. In fact, a crew of four firefighters took part in the response, according to Thomas Doherty, chief of the Campbell River Fire Department.

Just Posted

Former Campbell Riverite reaches Everest summit

Clayton Matthews’ team got to the top of the world earlier this week

Strathcona Regional District fiscal health gradually improving, staff say

Tax and service revenue was up for the SRD in 2018, while grant money was down

VIDEO: Campbell River highschool event marks Canadian human rights milestone

50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality

Blaney plan helps seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

Campbell River resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read