Raised on Salt Spring by a family that supported the community through a variety of volunteer roles, it was only natural for me to follow that same path of volunteerism. In high school, I was a member of the Youth Coast Guard in Mill Bay. I was a member of the local Land Search and Rescue team for 12 years and served as chair for eight of those years. My transition to the the fire service was a natural one. As a Paid on Call (POC) firefighter, I am able to satisfy my need to be a contributing part of the community in which I was raised.
This commitment to service has resulted in me also becoming a part of both the rope and water rescue teams in addition to the minimum weekly commitment of a POC. Each of these responsibilities require time, both to train as well as to share what I have learned from past training with my teammates. Becoming an officer was a natural progression, reflecting my time and energy commitments.
There are times that my commitment feels like it is not enough, and it is difficult to let go of the need to be involved even more. When my family responsibilities need attention, it can be a struggle to balance family, work, and the fire hall.
Some years, I’ve had more time to give and others less. But, it all seems to work. As I have always volunteered, even while I was raising my family, they know no different. It is job that I do, and they understand how important it is to me. As my children were growing up, I would exercise every opportunity to involve them in fire hall events so they would feel a part of the fire community.
Their support of my firefighting responsibilities has become a part of who they are, and they all serve the community in one form or another. My son is now a part of the hall and is learning about balancing personal, work, and volunteer life. It is challenging as he is a 17 year old learning a trade while also learning to be a fire fighter. But, the confidence he has gained over the past year from balancing his multiple commitments is measurable and so very rewarding.
Peter was recently awarded Salt Spring Fire Rescue’s Officer Of The Year