Mike Fournier is retiring after nearly two decades as co-ordinator of the Comox Valley Emergency Program.

Coffee with … Mike Fournier

After nearly 20 years of volunteer service, Mike Fournier is retiring at the end of December as co-ordinator of the Comox Valley Emergency Program.

More than 100 volunteers comprise the program, which includes Search and Rescue, Emergency Support Service and a radio/communications group. A lifetime member, Fournier will continue with CVEP in some capacity, perhaps tending to the building on Moray Avenue or looking after radios, batteries and other equipment.

The program’s biggest search lasted two weeks last year when Sylvia Apps went missing while hiking in Strathcona Park.

“Every other search was successful,” said Fournier who, along with Ruth Masters, founded the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR) in the early-70s.

Back then, he was the ski patrol supervisor at Forbidden Plateau. A night search for a missing person prompted the idea to form a search and rescue team. Fournier recalls the first search was for a mental patient who went missing from hospital.

The organization was incorporated in 1974.

“We were the first ground search and rescue society in B.C.”

Over the years, the society has grown from 10 to 50-plus members. It’s one of the busiest teams in the province, averaging 35 searches a year.

After Forbidden closed, Fournier initiated the volunteer ski patrol at Mount Washington.

“I was the first one to get caught in an avalanche at Mount Washington,” said Fournier, who was buried in about six feet of snow. He suffered a broken femur and spent a month in hospital.

Fournier was ski cutting when the avalanche occurred. He recalls hitting three trees during the run.

“That’s what stopped me from going to the bottom,” he said. “The next day they ordered dynamite.”

In 1978, Fournier opened Mountain Meadows Sports in downtown Courtenay. His business partner was Ed Schum, whom he knew from Mount Washington.

“I sold my business to take this job (CVEP co-ordinator),” said Fournier, who hails from Quebec City.

Before entering the sporting goods business, he had a career in the Armed Forces. Fournier was first stationed in Cold Lake, Alta. — where he met his wife, Linda, and where “50 below is not unusual.” He transferred to Montreal before moving to the Comox Valley in 1969.

He and Linda live in Courtenay. They have two sons.

Fournier hopes to play a bit of golf in his retirement.

“I can stand the par threes,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Cycle tour for African Grandmothers coming through the Comox Valley

On Sept. 6, 35 women, aged between 56 and 75, will be… Continue reading

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Gallery accepting applications for Youth Media Project

The Comox Valley Art Gallery is accepting applications for the Youth Media… Continue reading

Ribfest returning to the Comox Valley

It’s fast approaching—the fifth annual Comox Valley Ribfest takes place from Friday,… Continue reading

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

PHOTOS: Cumberland Wild embraces diverse musical talents

Day 1 of the two-day music festival took place Saturday

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read