Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer 2014 Award Winners
Back row: Carol McClintock, Director of Organizational Learning, Emergency Management BC ; Bill Foster; Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton; Jim Spencer; Pat Quealey, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management BC.
Front row: Keith Laboucan, Vasantha Aruliah, Ron Royston
Jack Bryceland not shown
Jim Spencer – PEP Air (Nanaimo)
For nearly a decade, Jim Spencer has been a member of PEP Air, the BC-wide volunteer association that provides air support services to the National Search and Rescue Program and he currently serves as the Nanaimo Area Air Deputy. Jim helped organize the building of new search headquarter facilities at the Nanaimo airport, and increased their search headquarters’ capacity, unit training and storage facilities.
The Canadian Air Search and Rescue Association selected Jim for the coveted Royal Canadian Air Force Assistant Search Master course. This prestigious schooling has been put to good use in training and operational missions for PEP Air in support of the Royal Canadian Air Force and B.C.’s Ground Search and Rescue. Jim’s varied skill-set and expertise have made him an invaluable asset in making sure that PEP Air and Ground Search and Rescue can work seamlessly together.
Vasantha Aruliah – Emergency Social Services (Port Coquitlam)
Described as caring, conscientious, and reliable, Vasantha Aruliah is a 15-year member of the Port Coquitlam Emergency Preparedness Program and currently serves in a leadership role as a Reception Centre Manager for emergency social services.
Vasantha prides herself on participating in her community, putting on emergency program sessions with local strata and service groups, as well as taking part in the annual Emergency Preparedness Fair. Vasantha also spends time with other organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, Port Coquitlam Cadets, the local recreation facility, their children’s high school fundraisers and the Community Volunteer Services for Seniors. She is one of the founding members of the Thamil Cultural Society of British Columbia. Selfless and devoted, Vasantha is a perfect example of the quality of volunteer drawn to the emergency program.
Bill Foster – Emergency Radio Communications (Kamloops)
Bill Foster is a decade-long volunteer in the Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service at the Central Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre in Kamloops. He is also a member of the Radio Amateurs of Canada field services, holding the office of Official Bulletin Manager for the B.C. and Yukon regions.
Between 2012 and 2013, Bill contributed over 270 hours or 50 per cent of the total volunteer hours in the radio room in Kamloops. He has been involved in numerous field deployments, he trains and mentors volunteers, is an expert in Radiogram handling and record keeping, and is an active member of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club. Bill supported a number of large-scale exercises such as Operation Unity, The Great BC Shakeout, Exercise Switch On 2012 and Cross Border 2014. He was also deployed in Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics and trained volunteers in the setup and use of EMBC’s deployable radio station.
Keith Laboucan - Road Rescue (Prince George)
Keith Laboucan is a volunteer in the truest form. An ambassador for Prince George, Keith has been responding to highway and road rescue emergencies and serving his community for over a decade. Humble and dedicated, he is someone who does not want or require recognition for his commitment, and would rather it be passed on to his department than himself, even when nominated and awarded the Order of B.C. in 2010.
Keith is the youngest Chief of the Prince George Regional Highway Rescue in the history of the department. The volunteer hours he provides extend far beyond rescue calls and Chief duties. He has strived to develop and improve rescue techniques and has upgraded equipment to bring the department to where it is today. He is fully committed to his team, living by the motto, “Us, Me, Them.” One of his colleagues that nominated him stated that he “provides us with a moral compass to be better than we were before.” Despite the extensive hours he spends volunteering, Keith still works full-time in the auto insurance and estimation field.
Jack Bryceland – Search and Rescue (Chilliwack)
Jack Bryceland has provided four decades of service and commitment to the Chilliwack Search and Rescue team. As a lead instructor for the Chilliwack Ground Search and Rescue team, Jack has trained volunteers in all of the rescue disciplines including: Avalanche, Helicopter External Transport System, Mountain Rescue, Rope Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, and the now defunct Dive Rescue.
In addition to his years of volunteer services, Jack leads people on hikes and climbs through the BC Mountaineering Club and has made several first ascents, including Mt. Saint Elias, the second highest peak in both Canada and the United States. He is a longstanding advocate of environmental stewardship and preserving access to B.C.’s back-country. As a public school teacher, Jack ran a forestry program at Chilliwack Secondary School and led dozens of school groups on wilderness trips where he shared his knowledge of wilderness safety. He also served on the board of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC and served as the Fraser Valley Representative for the BC Search and Rescue Association.
Lifetime Achievement – Ron Royston (West Vancouver)
Ron got his start in 1968 as a volunteer member of the First Aid Ski Patrol team on Whistler Mountain. After transferring to Grouse Mountain Ski Patrol, he became one of the first Search and Rescue Managers in B.C. in the early 1980s. He has since lead his team on more than 500 tasks, including successful responses to several remote areas of the province and Washington State. His efforts have led to the introduction of new training methods and tactical volunteer teams. Ron also worked closely with one of B.C.’s great heroes, the late Tim Jones, to create the North Shore Rescue Mobile Command Centre, and the North Vancouver rescue base.
Ron has also served as a director of the West Vancouver Community Foundation for nine years, a director of the Canadian Club of Vancouver for 10 years, a director for St. John Ambulance for 27 years and a Hut Custodian for the Alpine Club of Canada for 31 years. He has previously been awarded lifetime memberships with both the North Shore Rescue Team and First Aid Ski Patrol. As a chartered accountant by profession, he has been the North Shore Rescue team’s treasurer since 1984.