For 52 years, the Agassiz Fire Department gets together to celebrate their achievements, and this year’s awards ceremony was full of congratulations for fellow members.
Awards were handed out to numerous fire fighters on Saturday night at the Friendship House, including Wayne Ball, who earned his 20 year recognition.
Officially, that award is the Governor General of Canada Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal In Recognition of 20 Years of Loyal Exemplary Service to Public Security in Canada. Ball served 11 years in Sooke, and nine in Agassiz, and has no plans to quit his current role.
He delivered his speech to much ribbing and laughter, but also applause for a job well done. Like many members of the department, he thanked his wife for being supportive of a sometimes inconvenient line of work.
Lieutenant Dwight Schneider was thanked by the District for his many volunteer hours — 123 hours this year.
He was also given the Province of B.C. 25-year long service medal and the Agassiz Fire Department’s 25-year long service pin and bar.
Firefighter Ryan Chairot earned the James G. Morrow Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year.
Lieutenant Mitch Baker was given the Carl Tyfting Memorial Shield Award for Firefighter of the Year.
Four members hit the five-year milestone, earning a long service pin and bar. They were Captain Keith Myles,
Lieutenant Mitch Baker, firefighter Trista Blinkhorn and firefighter Alex Klaassen.
Firefighters Chris Wilson and Andrew Brohman earned his 15-year long service pin and bar.
An Honorary Lifetime Member Award was handed out to Captain Michael Price. Price also received the Governor General of Canada Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal in Recognition of 20 Years of Loyal Exemplary Service to Public Security in Canada.
On June 22,1995 in Ottawa, Price received the Medal of Bravery from Governor General Romeo LeBlanc for going above and beyond the call of duty to save a life in a structure fire. Deputy Chief Gerald Basten re-told the story of that fire to the crowd at the awards night, saying it’s moments like that, that make the job worthwhile.
The biggest award of the night came right at the end, when Firefighter Simon Ozzard was given the Commendation Plaque from the Solicitor General and the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
He was awarded for his heroic actions on May 24 this year, at a motor vehicle accident in Chilliwack, where he insisted that the person who caused the accident needed medical attention and should not be allowed to drive her vehicle any further. Later, when the woman was being transported to the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest. On that day, she lived because of his decisive action. It is also a testament to his good judgment and courage, demonstrating a selfless dedication to life safety.