My wife and I and our four children moved to Salt Spring from the lower mainland in 2016. We wanted to raise our kids in a smaller community and were attracted by the beauty and pace of life here. The opportunity we needed to realize our dream came when my wife, Erin, a Registered Midwife, took over the local midwifery practice from Maggie Ramsay when she retired.
By fall, our four kids were enrolled in four different schools and, by the end of the year, I had signed on as a new recruit with Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR). During this time, we also had the opportunity to realize another dream – designing and building our home on a small acreage. We did it the Salt Spring way – living for a year and a half in a 27-foot camper. . . all six of us. We survived – barely!
All of these decisions have proven to be very rewarding ones.
From the start of my training in 2017, I have never looked back. At the beginning, it was an interesting and healthy diversion from the consuming life of housebuilding and parenthood, but I quickly realized it was way more than that. I found it immensely satisfying.
Among the things that I most enjoyed were:
-The challenging and practical training.
-The increased personal fitness.
-The wealth of knowledge, leadership, and mentorship throughout the department.
-The dedication, selflessness, comradeship, and friendship.
-The “family first” commitment.
I discovered that the SSIFR’s volunteer-based structure celebrates everyone’s unique background, the value each individual brings to the table, a common understanding, and a shared high standard of hard work.
To complement my SSIFR training, I was inspired to complete the British Columbia Emergency Health Services Emergency Medical Responder certification in May, and I am also working to complete my Class 3 licensing, the drivers’ licence needed to drive Tandem Axle Fire Trucks. Attaining these new skills and exploring new interests is propelling me in a whole new and exciting career direction.
In addition to these personal milestones, it is now becoming a family affair – This spring, Erin was thrilled to lead an Emergency Birth Skills workshop for SSIFR members, and my father joined the Fire Improvement District Board of Trustees.
Only a year and half in, it still feels like the beginning. I’m eagerly looking forward to exploring more of the many different paths and opportunities within the department.