Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue is being recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for their leadership in championing inclusion in Salt Spring Island communities.
Spring Island Fire Rescue has set an example of inclusion by welcoming a CLBC supported individual, CJ, into the “fire hall family” for the past 16 years. Staff and volunteers fully involve CJ in a variety of duties at the fire hall, as well as activities, fundraisers and celebrations in community.
For over 16 years, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has set an example of inclusion by welcoming CJ into the fire hall family. Every week, fire fighters have CJ test the emergency lights on the engines and other fire vehicles along with the sirens, radios, hoses and other vital equipment. They support him to go out on inspections and equipment testing runs, to change the fire hazard ratings on the signs at the three ferry terminals on the island, and at times, to participate on a call. CJ attends the fire hall’s social events throughout the year, including the annual summer BBQ and the Firefighter’s Appreciation Night held by the community. Fire fighters also fund his participation in Operation Trackshoes, a sporting event held every year at the University of Victoria.
“It’s an honour to be recognized for our work with Chris and we feel humbled to be acknowledged as leaders for inclusion. Chris is part of our family and he gives back to us and the community as much as he receives. We are grateful for this recognition, which makes us all the more committed to making sure people with diverse abilities are celebrated for the contributions they make to their communities.” - Chief Arjuna George, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue, WOW Award Winner
The fire hall leadership and staff were nominated for a WOW Award by Bob Delion, CJ’s support worker from G.I.F.T.S., a local service provider who supports people eligible for CLBC services. Bob nominated Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue for the incredible dedication and support they have shown CJ over the years, and for their overall contribution to keeping Salt Spring Island communities safe. The award will be presented to Chief Arjuna George alongside the career and volunteer fire fighters who are part of Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue.
Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue is one of five WOW award winners who are making inclusion a reality for people with developmental disabilities.
CLBC has presented WOW awards since 2009 to recognize inclusion champions who are helping to build communities where everyone is valued, respected and has opportunities to contribute. CLBC received over 60 nominations this year and winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community members, CLBC community council members, CLBC staff and people served by CLBC.