Fred Webber already found volunteering at the fire department rewarding. So winning an award for his service was just a bonus. Webber was named Firefighter of the Year for 2014 by his peers at the Harrison Hot Springs Fire Department.
Webber confesses he was surprised to win the award.
“I’m the oldest guy in the hall. I work very hard to keep up with the young guys,” he remarks. “It really humbled me a lot that they voted for me.”
The Harrison fire department was looking for volunteers after the Webbers moved to the village. He thought he might be too old but figured he would try out anyway.
“I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter,” Webber confides.
He passed all the training and joined the department. With his experience at work, including having an Occupational First Aid ticket for 30 years, Webber quickly found a well-suited place in the department. He’s a first aid instructor and pumper truck expert.
Webber, who is now 61, says he is in better shape because of volunteering at the fire department over the last four years. He encourages anyone interested to come down to the hall and try it out.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life,” Webber says. “I’m very happy to serve this community and be part of the department.”
Fire Chief Don Labossiere says this award is a “highly-coveted” honour and that Webber certainly earned it.
“Overall, he is a good-natured individual and a very dedicated member of the Fire Department,” Labossiere says, adding his peers also saw the “exceptional work” Webber puts into the hall.
Webber’s wife Liz agrees, sharing how committed her husband is to this volunteer role.
“It’s just amazing,” Liz shares. “That beeper goes off and he’s gone. Middle of the night – he goes.”
Liz Webber says if they go out for a date in the village, her husband chooses to have a ginger-ale instead of a glass of wine just in case there’s a callout.
The award was handed out at the Harrison fire department’s annual Christmas dinner back in December. Also honoured that evening was David Whittaker, who was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award, based on more than 200 hours of volunteering.