Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Award Winners
Each year, Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers are recognized for their outstanding contributions in each of the disciplines during the Volunteer Recognition Award Ceremony.
To nominate someone you think has provided outstanding contributions as a volunteer, complete the Volunteer Recognition Program Annual Award nomination form (PDF). Your nearest EMBC Regional Office can answer questions and accept completed forms.
2019 Award Winners
Deb Chmara began her volunteer career in the field of safety and emergency response in Saskatchewan at the age of 13 by becoming a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard. Throughout her adolescence and post-secondary education at both the University of BC and University of Victoria, she continued to take on new opportunities and certification related to emergency response. Deb was a teacher by profession for 35 years having taught in the Yukon and in Castlegar. For 13 years, Deb taught a locally developed Wilderness Survival and Stewardship course to students in grades 7 and 8, with an integral focus on emergency preparedness and response knowledge.
Deb was instrumental in developing the first Red Cross Branch for Castlegar. She responded and assisted local West Kootenay communities in their capacity to deal with Level 1 emergencies, and was the Emergency Support Services Association Representative for the West Kootenays in the beginning years of Emergency Support Services (ESS). Deb became, and continues to be, the ESS Director for the City of Castlegar and when the Mobile Support Team was established, she was on the first MST Team for the East/West Kootenays and continues with the MST today.
Deb worked internationally for 6 years with the Canadian and International Red Cross, and two of her most memorable deployments were for Hurricane Katrina and Fort McMurray. As an Organizational Delegate, a focus of her work was to support Red Cross Societies in developing countries in the development of their Emergency Management Teams and Programs. Some of the countries she served in were the Philippines, Afghanistan, Gaza Strip, Liberia, Tajikistan and Albania.
Deb continues to increase the capacity of the Castlegar ESS Red Cross Team and is active in continuing to enhance the capacity of other West Kootenay teams. Currently, she is sharing responsibilities in leading a Regional Group Lodging Team initiative for the West Kootenays which will serve all communities, and ESS/Red Cross Emergency Management Teams in the region.
Les retired from teaching in 2002. He enjoys backcountry skiing in the wintertime and trips in his sea kayak in remote sections of freshwater wilderness during the summer. He also enjoys going to live theatre with his wife, and taking trips to see his children and grandchildren.
Les joined Search and Rescue in the mid-80’s and has been a supporter ever since; his desire to improve his bush skills and help others really appealed to him, as well as the opportunity to work with people of a similar mindset. In the beginning of his SAR career he was a ground pounder and the treasurer, he remembers reporting bank balances fewer than five dollars, and operating with little to no equipment. Times have changed dramatically in the last 12 years, with the dedicated resource of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, financially supporting search and rescue and receiving gaming grants, under the guidance of Neil Brewer. More recently, the government grants have been amazing. The SAR team now has vehicles, equipment, a new building and most importantly training that prepares them to deal with many tasks.
Les started participating as a Search Manager in the mid ‘90s and has managed many tasks with the help of his capable team. Not all were successful, some memorable ones bring out strong emotions, relief and gratitude by those they’ve helped but through it all they did their best under trying circumstances.
Much of Les’ life over the last 20 years has been centered on search and rescue and he can honestly say that it has been very satisfying and he has truly enjoyed it. Les is extremely honoured that his team feels he is worthy of this award.
Douglas William Franklin Barry – Emergency Radio Communications
July 5, 1942 – October 31, 2016
Doug Barry was born in Vancouver, and later moved to Burnaby, where he attended Nelson Avenue Elementary, McPherson Park Junior High and Burnaby South Senior High where he graduated in 1961. Throughout high school, Doug was involved in Air Cadets where he earned a flying scholarship and his pilot’s license at age 17. In 1964 Doug became involved with the Pacific Flying Club, where his interest in Air Traffic Control was born.
In 1969 Doug began his long and distinguished career as an Air Traffic Controller. In 1972 Doug started working at YVR (Vancouver Airport). From 1981-1985 Doug worked as an Instructor, then returned to the tower in October 1986 where he stayed until his retirement in 2003. While working at Vancouver International Airport, he met the love of his life, Irene.
Doug (VE7WLF) and his son James (VE7LZR) earned their Amateur Radio Licenses together in 1993. By early 1994, Doug was volunteering in Amateur Radio for Surrey’s Emergency Program.
Doug, with his distinctive baritone voice, truly enjoyed amateur radio, joining the Delta Amateur Radio Society (DARS) and participating as an active member for many years, including as Club President. A particular passion for Doug was working on the distracted driving legislation with the B.C. provincial government. Doug was also a long time member of VECTOR – Vancouver’s Emergency Community Telecommunications Organization, and was a regular participant in VECTOR’s affairs and activations.
Doug parlayed his talents in air traffic control and his passion for aviation safety and amateur radio into active involvement with PEP Air and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). Doug gave generously of his time, assisting on numerous missions to help those in distress.
Among the most visible proponents for the development of emergency communications, Doug was a long-time EMBC Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer and dedicated advocate of Emergency Management in British Columbia. Doug was the Municipal Emergency Radio Communications Coordinator for the City of Delta and played a pivotal role in the development of the City of Delta’s Emergency Radio Communications program.
Doug was dedicated to the business of supporting Delta’s Emergency Program, whether by encouraging new volunteers, training new recruits, or finding new and innovative ways to meet the needs of people impacted by disasters and emergencies.
Doug was tremendously devoted to his community, and gave generously of his time. He shared his talents with the Delta Police Department at the North Delta COPs Office as a Coordinator for North Delta Community Crime Watch, with Operation Red Nose, and with the Tsawwassen First Nation for their Canoe Journeys.
Doug also used his natural affinity for amateur radio at numerous community events including the Celebration of Light, the Rotary Bike-A-Thon, the New Westminster Hyack Parade, the Run for Life, the Terry Fox Run, the Ladner May Days Parade, the Delta Triathlon, the Tour de Delta, the Boundary Bay Airshow, Operation Red Nose, and the Abbotsford Air Show.
Doug was thoughtful in his approach, methodical in his delivery, and gentle in his critique. Doug was kind, considerate, and the true measure of a gentleman. When asked, he served, and it’s those countless hours of service that he performed for so many years in our province that must be acknowledged and commended.
Doug passed away suddenly on October 31, 2016 after surgery and a long but valiant battle with cancer. His health issues over the last few years of his life did not prevent him from remaining upbeat, and maintaining his devotion to his family and his community.
Doug is survived by his loving wife Irene, son James and his wife Sheila, son Grant and his wife Christine, his stepdaughter Jeassea and grandchildren Makayla, Victoria, Kate, Zack and step-grandchildren Heather, Brent, Derrick, Branden and Steven, and a virtual army of friends and colleagues.
After serving the City of Delta and the Province of British Columbia for many years as an outstanding radio amateur, mentor, teacher and colleague, Doug leaves behind a tremendous legacy in Delta and throughout the province.
John is a licensed commercial pilot with over 4000 hrs and 38 years of coastal flying experience. He was introduced to the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) through his friends in the Nanaimo Flying Club and was inspired by CASARA members to use his aircraft and skills to help others in distress.
John has flown over 1000 volunteer hours comprised of 280 training flights and 110 operational searches during his 33 years as a CASARA/PEP Air pilot. John is currently the senior PEP Air search pilot and training officer for Mid-Vancouver Island. Amongst John’s many accomplishments, he and his crew were awarded first place in two National SAR competitions (2004 and 2015) and first place in the 2009 Western Canadian competition.
John’s most memorable accomplishment was designing and leading the re-construction of an un-used hangar to create a permanent training facility and search headquarters for Mid-Vancouver Island PEP Air. Several members of his Nanaimo PEP Air team contributed their time and skills to make this facility a reality. The four-month construction project is an outstanding example of the spirit and dedication of their members.
John and his team member’s capability to conduct air searches is only possible because the PEP Air volunteers maintain their training and certification to fulfill many ground roles and crew positions. The support and training that they receive from the Royal Canadian Air Force (442 Sqn) is essential for them to maintain the professional search capabilities required for their work.
Finally, John would like to thank his wife Lillian for supporting his PEP Air endeavours including sudden absences for search call-outs.
Dale and his twin brother were born in Vancouver; living on Vancouver Island for over four years, they were raised and continue to live in South Eastern B.C.
Dale’s desire for supporting and helping others in need started in 1983 after he got a job at the local Elko Sawmill. He became the first aid attendant while working at the mill, and his passion for people grew from there. Dale started to assist with overseeing and training the sawmill fire bridge and in 1991, eventually took over emergency management for the mill, which then drove the development of an emergency response crew for not just fires, but other emergency situations.
Dale continued to hone his skills and in 2013 he began his role as a member of Cranbrook’s SAR Highway Rescue team and was blown away by the skill and professionalism of the team. Their crew responded 24 hours a day, seven days a week to any type of motor vehicle incident, and the crew averaged 80 to 100 calls a year which rates them the top three busiest road rescue societies in B.C. Of course raising a family did take priority, and as his four children grew up he began to take on even more activities with the support of his wife. In 2015 Dale became ground rescue certified with Cranbrook SAR and he is looking forward to gaining his ropes rescue certification with ground search and rescue.
Currently, Dale works full time for Canfor in Elko and lives in Cranbrook with his wife Karen, where he serves as Battalion Chief for Elko Volunteer Fire Department as paid on-call officer and firefighter. Dale assists with fire fighter training and he does first responder training for all of the departments. When at home, Dale continues to respond with Cranbrook SAR, and teaches all levels of first aid within the community.
Dale would like to thank his nominator(s) for nominating him for this award. He would also like to thank the awesome highway rescue crew and all the South Country Elk Valley firefighters that he has had the honour of training and serving with. But more importantly, he would like to thank his amazing wife Karen who has supported and continues to support him as this is a sacrifice that many families, like his own, experience with volunteer service.
Patrick, known as Paddy, was born and raised in Rossland where he developed a keen interest in the outdoors. After he graduated high school, he attended the Open Pit Mining School in Rossland, and in 1974 he started to work for the Kaiser Coal in Sparwood.
Paddy was quite involved with Mine Rescue, first aid, the fire department, ambulance services, and the use of extrication tools. In the late 70’s Paddy took a basic search and rescue (SAR) course and was involved in some searches, such as avalanche searches in the Elk Valley. In the early 80’s Paddy took his search managers course, cliff rescue course, and also apprenticed and received his journeyman lineman papers. His passions for mine rescue and the great outdoors were a perfect mixture for him.
Paddy moved to Kaslo in 1989 and began working for West Kootenay Power as a journeyman lineman and joined the local SAR group. After helping out with some vehicle accidents using chain hoists, hacksaws and chisels, the Kaslo SAR group realized there was a need for auto extrication tools. In order to raise enough money to buy their first jaws of life, the team cut logging truck loads of firewood and have been upgrading and improving ever since. Paddy’s rope rescue skills from his experience at the mine came in handy and due to the steep landscape of their area, he was able to support the SAR team in becoming certified in rope rescue. He taught not only his own team, but also local groups basic search and rescue skills and was involved with Kootenay Heli Rescue. He was also trained as an Avalanche Tech 1 and is Mountain Rescue 2 certified.
Paddy feels extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to take advantage of such great training that has been provided over the years by his employers, SAR teams and the Province of British Columbia, as this training and these experiences have helped him in all aspects of his life.
Paddy is also very thankful to his wife Claudette for supporting him through it all.
Previous winners for outstanding lifetime contributions as a volunteer, with various emergency management programs.
2018: Andrew Spray, Vancouver Island
2017: Ron Essex, Salmon Arm
2016: George Merchant, Surrey
2015: Cindy Heslop, Victoria
2014: Ron Royston, North Vancouver
2013: Ole Edliq, Comox
2012: Joe Mandur, Terrace
2011: Bob Piggott, North Vancouver
2010: Alan Craft, Nelson
2009: Frank Whitecotton, Logan Lake
2008: Chuck Pachal, Kelowna
2007: Linda West, Victoria
2006: Wayne Merry, Atlin
Emergency Support Services
Previous winners for outstanding contributions with Emergency Support Services.
2018: Carolynne Miller, Kamloops
2017: Deborah Reid, Victoria
2016: Wayne Hartley, Nanaimo
2015: Moira Clark, Taylor
2014: Vasantha Aruliah, Port Coquitlam
2013: Dave Dickson, Williams Lake
2012: Lyn Arikado, Kamloops
2011: Bev Stenning, Victoria
2010: Joyce McLeod, Kitimat
2009: Brenda Young, Victoria
2008: Beverly Wilson, Langford
2007: Alvina Berggren, Fort Nelson
2006: Donna Grobell, Cranbrook
2005: Bea Thalheimer, Barriere
2004: Marie Salem, Kamloops
2003: Gord Fox, Kitimat
2002: Janet & Bill Andrews, Abbotsford
2001: Bob Kennedy, Victoria
2000: Clare Fletcher, Whistler
1999: Diane Dewberry, Port McNeill
1998: June Kennedy, Port Alberni
1997: Lynn Pauwels, Lions Bay
1996: Ray Huey, Princeton
1995: Delaine Milette, Abbotsford
1994: Heather Lyle, Vancouver
1993: Susan Jersak, Powell River
1992: Beryl Stobie, Kelowna
1991: Margery Lovejoy, Sidney
Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) Air
Previous winners for outstanding contributions with PEP Air.
2018: Bibiane (Babs) Tarasiuk, Kelowna
2017: Al & Kathy Kasatkin, Greater Vancouver Regional District
2016: Brian Dunham, Courtenay
2015: Louis Dery, Prince George
2014: Jim Spencer, Nanaimo
2013: Trevor Black, Richmond
2012: Dan & Louise Shynuk, Cranbrook
2011: Marie Woodruff, Victoria
2010:Carlene Blackmore, Creston
2009: James Norman Reed, Kamloops
2008: Chuck Henderson, Kamloops
2007: Ken Hruschak, Kelowna
2006: Fred Carey, Port Coquitlam
2005: Keith Bennett, Salmon Arm
2004: Jay Armitage, Creston
2003: Mack Schat, Smithers
2002: Tom Fisher, Richmond
2001: John Jorimann, Vernon
2000: Dale Drysdale, Port McNeill
1999: Lynn VanCadsand, Smithers
1998: Sheila Moon, Ladner
1997: Vic Schrauwen, Armstrong
1996: Graeme Johnstone, Smithers
1995: Roy Clemens, Kelowna
1994: Alton King, Cranbrook
1993: Bob Goerzen, Nanaimo
1992: George Vernon, Kamloops
1991: Charles Pachal, Kelowna
Previous winners for outstanding contributions with Emergency Radio Communications.
2018: Larry Joe, Saanich
2017: Bernie Leaker, Vancouver
2016: Alan Mallett, Victoria
2015: Neil Townsend, Victoria
2014: Bill Foster, Kamloops
2013: Frank Vanderzande, Prince George
2012: Jim Forsyth, Pitt Meadows
2011: Brady Conroy, Kamloops
2010: Glenn Grieve, Terrace
2009: Dave Gillis, Langley
2008: Dave Clift, Aldergrove
2007: Norm Barton, Westbank
2006: Paul Peters, Cobble Hill
2005: Ron Essex, Salmon Arm
2004: Ed Plummer, Osoyoos
2003: John Schouten, Surrey
2002: Ken McEachern, Kamloops
2001: Graig Pearen, Prince George
2000: Kim Olfert, Terrace
1999: Dodie Lindley, Vernon
1998: Ruth Davison, Clearwater
1997: Bryan Farrar, Vancouver
1996: Ed Gorse, Sooke/Victoria
1995: John Hughes, Abbotsford
1994: George Field, Comox
1993: Bob Lindley, Vernon
1992: Jim Durance, Victoria
1991: Al Fast, Victoria
Previous winners for outstanding contributions with B.C. Emergency Road Rescue.
2018: Brian Brinkhurst, Burns Lake
2017: Fernie Fire Rescue
2016: Edward Jones, Invermere
2015: Dave Laramee, Castlegar
2014: Keith Laboucan, Prince George
2013: Revelstoke Highway Rescue Society
2012: Reg Gustafson, Nakusp
2011: Jim Hurtado, Vanderhoof
2010: Rod Mudie, Hope
2009: Jay Mosley, Merritt
2008: Gord Hogaboam, Nakusp
2007: Jim Dezall, Cranbrook
2006: Peter Hartinger, Princeton
2005: Brenda & Kurt Penno, Golden
2004: John Moore, Sicamous
2003: Jim Stainton, Terrace
2002: Jordan Lawrence, New Hazelton
2001: Varinder Bhangu, Prince George
2000: Walter Mantel, Terrace
Search and Rescue
Previous winners for outstanding contributions with Search and Rescue.
2018: Dave Merritt, Prince George
2017: Brad Sills, Whistler
2016: Bridget Ann Milsom, North Shore Rescue
2015: John Howe, Squamish
2014: Jack Bryceland, Chilliwack
2013: John Rempel, Burns Lake
2012: Walter Bucher, Smithers
2011: Bob Zimmerman, Quesnel
2010: Kyle Hale, Golden
2009: Bill Meikle, Sooke
2008: Brian Lamond, Fort St. John
2007: Neil Brewer, Agassiz
2006: Swede Peterson, Prince George
2005: Chuck Elliott, Revelstoke
2004: Bob McLeod, Kitimat
2003: Jeff Smedley, Prince George
2002: Paddy Flanagan, Kaslo
2001: Linda Hillard, Victoria
2000: Dave Brewer, North Vancouver
1999: Don Blakely, Vernon
1998: Pete Wise, Vernon
1997: Peter Relkoff, Cranbrook
1996: Ross Montgomery, New Westminster
1995: Ken McDonald, Mission
1994: Jim Coe, Penticton
1993: Gord Meakin, Prince George
1992: R. Neil Grainger, Chilliwack
1991: Don Bryant, Port Alberni