Retired firefighter Mike McKinlay is the recipient of the City of Duncan’s 2021 Scroll of Honour.
McKinlay, who retired as Duncan’s fire chief in August after serving 34 years, received his award, which recognizes long-term service to the community, at a council meeting on Dec. 6.
The City of Duncan presents awards each year to citizens of the Cowichan Valley who demonstrate excellence in the fields of arts, sports, and long-term service to the community.
The winner of the 2021 Perpetual Arts Trophy was Alora Killam, and the winner of the 2021 Perpetual Trophy for Excellence and Sportsmanship was Don Bodger.
McKinlay started his career at the City of Duncan’s public works department in 1991.
He did every job from garbage man, to backhoe operator, parks, roads. Eventually he began work in the utilities department where he excelled and took on the role of utilities foreman, where has been instrumental in upgrading the city’s systems to better serve the community.
McKinley said he is proud and excited to be retiring from that position in the spring of 2022.
He found his passion to become a firefighter in 1987 when he joined the Duncan Fire Department and moved up through the ranks and became the fire chief in 2008.
In that role, McKinlay has served his community fearlessly and has been a great mentor to many firefighters throughout the years.
“We are honoured and privileged to be awarding Mike McKinlay the Scroll of Honour for 2021 and would like to acknowledge, appreciate and thank him and his family for everything he has contributed to making Duncan and the Cowichan Valley a better place to live,” a press release from the city said.
With many dedicated years of training, dance, and school, Alora Killam has competed several times in the Cowichan Valley and beyond, but she also shares her amazing gift by training others through a myriad of volunteer activities.
Killam has volunteered at the Cowichan Musical Society as a choreographer, helping a large team in the community put on shows such as Anything Goes and recently Mamma Mia at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre.
This act of dedication requires many nights per week around school and her own training.
Killam’s shared acts of kindness have always been delivered with a smile, and with a willingness to always help her cast members learn tap, jazz, and hip hop, from toddlers through to 80-year-olds.
The shows were a hit in the Cowichan Valley and her energy radiated throughout.
During the pandemic, Killam dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast to surprise local children on lockdown and stood on the roads and driveways waving and chatting to the little ones to brighten their day for their birthday.
“Congratulations Alora Killam as this year’s 2021 Perpetual Arts Award,” the city said.
“We thank the Cowichan Valley Arts Council who worked closely with the city in selecting this year’s recipient.”
Don Bodger has covered sports in the Cowichan Valley for approximately 30 years with the former Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, then for the Duncan Free Press and now reports sports and news as editor of the Chemainus Courier newspaper.
He has gone far beyond merely reporting sports, and has also proven to be community minded.
As well, Bodger has organized the popular annual sports banquet for his News Leader Sports Athletes of the Week, honouring local student athletes, and with his brothers he started the annual Georgina Falt Memorial Music Trivia fundraiser for local Alzheimer’s programs.
“Sports are in his blood, as a pastime and lifestyle,” the city said.
“To him, everyone wins in local sports. Congratulations Don Bodger as this year’s 2021 Perpetual Trophy for Excellence Sportsmanship.”