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Gumboot Nation: No experience required

'I have to confess that this whole column is a blatant stab at recruiting new volunteers for our [volunteer fire] department'
roberts creek-COLUMN

I’ve been writing this column for two and a half years for the love of this place and its people. I am not alone in this feeling of community, and we all make our home a better place in so many ways, large or small. For some, it’s donating to the food cupboard outside the library, or giving time to the Community Association. Even those smiling faces behind the counter at the cafe and “the Gen” contribute to the feeling. I have found my best way to contribute to our home is by putting my energy and intellect into the Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department. For more than 50 years, the property across from the Community Hall has served as home to the only emergency services protection available within the boundary of the Gumboot Nation. Ambulance and RCMP have offices in both Sechelt and Gibsons, but when you call 911 in the Creek for anything but a police matter, it’s your local volunteers who respond. Though small in number (19 active members and two juniors), we are big on skills, continually upgrading and sharpening them Wednesday evenings, and a half dozen weekends a year.  

We are now halfway through annual skills assessments – three months to review the knowledge to maintain our safety, and that of our community, in whatever the world throws at us. This work is definitely not for everyone, we are called upon to handle the gritty realities of life, sometimes bordering on the surreal, but the support received from this family of like-minded individuals allows us to step up and make a difference. We train to meet people on their worst day and to make it better.  

I have to confess that this whole column is a blatant stab at recruiting new volunteers for our department. Are you ready to join this diverse group and give your time and energy to your community? Are you ready to live your life out loud and become part of the solution? Want to approach every day as a new opportunity to learn and grow? Your place to start is Our next intake is April 1, so you will need to act now! (Required paperwork – criminal record check, doctors note – takes time.) Operators are standing by! Kidding, but Sean and Pat will interview you.  

Our department had the first female firefighter and chief on the Coast and has a high ratio of female membership (25 per cent). Our juniors are the daughters of members and two couples are serving together.  

This month marks a big milestone, one of the unsung community leaders that makes this place special. Bruce Searle marks 35 years as a firefighter, quietly and tirelessly working to keep the Gumboot Nation safe. Our hats off to you, big guy!  

A side note, the Legion will open its doors on “2’s Day” The date is 22/2/22 with their Jam Night and Thursday Jazz is back as well! More next week as I delve into the history of the 219.  

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