Not in it for the money

Firefighters appreciate opportunities for socializing and public service

Brian Helm backburning a grass fire

 

Brian Helm, a five year veteran, is Keremeos and District Volunteer Fire Department’s Truck Lieutenant.

“This is my second stint on the KVFD,” he explained, “I came back here after university, joined the department for a year and  a half before moving away and then returning.”

Helm finds satisfaction as a volunteer firefighter in the way it allows him to involve himself  in the community. As the operator of a home based business, it provides him with the opportunity to network and socialize with other members of the community, as well as provide a helping hand.

“I enjoy the social aspects of it,” he said, “since I work out of the house, it provides me with my social outlet.”

“My dad was a firefighter here, too,”  he said, “I enjoyed the initial experience I had here, so it was a no-brainer to come back.”

Helm said he manages the time he spends  in firehall activities “just fine.”

“There is a feeling of additional responsibility when responding to a call during the week when member levels in the community are down,” he explained, noting in some cases the first member arriving in the firehall is often the one taking the command seat.

“It’s rewarding when you can help someone out in the community,” he said.

Helm agrees that most calls don’t come at personally opportune times, but said there is still a need and an obligation to try and answer the page.

“What if it was happening to you, and no one came to help?” he asked, “I think it’s a good thing to know that someone in the community is available and willing to help in a time of need.”

As far as compensation goes, Helm agrees  if someone is in it for money, they are in it for the wrong reason.

“I lose money to go running out the door, as do others,” he said, “but at the same time, I  must admit the stipend doesn’t go unnoticed at the times of the year when it is paid out.”

 

 

 

Paul McLean has been a member of the Keremeos and District Volunteer Fire Department since 2002.

“I had been retired for a year when I saw an ad in the paper recruiting firefighters,” he said, “I’m used to being active and involved, and I thought this would be something that would keep me involved in the community.”

Because McLean is retired, he finds himself available much of the time.

“I get my fair share of the work.” he said. Living in Keremeos also means he’s close to the firehall, and can get to the station pretty quickly when the pager goes off.

“Guys that get on the first truck are often the ones operating it,” he said, “I really enjoy that aspect of it – being in a responsible position.” McLean said he enjoys the challenge of being forced to deal with things that go wrong, as can happen in an emergency situation.

McLean said money is not a big part of the motivation when it comes to playing the role of a firefighter in the community.

“There’s quite a bit of volunteer work necessary to do this,” he said, “it helps to get some remuneration. I’m  satisfied with the amount.” McLean finds more motivation in “working with a good bunch of guys, a good team” – and in giving back to the community.

 

“I find the service is a team effort with people that get along well,” he summarized, “it’s also mentally and physically challenging. It certainly fills a void in retirement.”

 

 

Just Posted

Keremeos man says stem cell therapy changed his life

Darryl Brewer says he went from being immobile with chronic pain to leading an active lifestyle

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: cloudy, showers expected

Environment Canada is predicting a mix of sun and clouds tomorrow and a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

Okanagan society sends seniors, shut-ins on boat excursions

Okanagan Quality Life Society has been providing Okanagan Lake boat rides for nearly 30 years

A rainy July is normal for the Okanagan

Rainy days in July haven’t been seen since before 2014

Updated: Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

Okanagan Basin Water Board continues call to protect B.C. waters from invasive mussels

The board is pushing for additional regulations from the government

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Summerland real estate agents handled many home transactions

Larry and Donna Young spent 40 years in Summerland housing market

Okanagan FC one win away from playoff berth

The Kelowna soccer club finishes their season with two home games

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Virtual reality, arcade gaming centre opens in Salmon Arm

Owner hopes to host city’s first Esports team for games like League of Legends, Fortnite

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Most Read