VIDEO: Lake Cowichan fire department celebrates long service

Bill Robertson, right, presents his 40-year ribbon and bar to Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott on Nov. 4, 2019. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Lake Cowichan’s volunteer fire department includes a good percentage of young firefighters, unlike some departments that have found themselves strapped for new recruits. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Tom Denninger, left, gets his 35-year-award from Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Chief Doug Knott, right, presents a 30-year-award to Lake Cowichan firefighter Steve Johnson. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Firefighter Steve Vatcher, left, gets his award for 25 years of service from Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Lake Cowichan firefighter Ray Bourassa receives his 30-year-award from Chief Doug Knott. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Ray Bourassa, left, who is retiring from the Lake Cowichan fire department after 30 years of service, receives a fun ‘going away present’ from fellow firefighter, Steve Johnson. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Ray Bourassa, left, gets a hug from Steve Johnson as he retires from the Lake Cowichan fire department. Both men joined up 30 years ago this year so it was a special goodbye for them. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Members of Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department had lots of reasons to celebrate on Monday, Nov. 4.

After all, it was the night they hand out their long-service awards.

But, there was some sadness, too, as they bid farewell to retiring firefighter, Ray Bourassa.

Fire chief Doug Knott received his 40-year ribbon and bar, and Tom Denniger received his award for 35 years in the department.

Steve Johnson was given his award for 30 years of service and Steve Vatcher was honoured for 25 years of service.

Finally, in an emotional moment, Johnson presented Bourassa with his 30-year award. As the two men joined in the same year, Johnson also got to give his friend two fun going-away presents, before the entire department gathered for a group picture.

As is plain in the group picture, there are now a good number of young firefighters in the Lake Cowichan group.

Asked about how this comes to be when departments in other communities are constantly talking about the difficulties of finding young recruits, both Knott and Vatcher said they were delighted with the situation, and pointed to the culture around Lake Cowichan’s fire department as an important factor in attracting young volunteers.

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