Saturday’s 2020 Comox Valley Chamber Awards included a moving tribute to one of the Comox Valley’s most well-known and well-respected community leaders.
The President’s Merit Award was presented posthumously to former 19 Wing Commander and Comox Valley Airport CEO Fred Bigelow, who lost a courageous battle with cancer in August.
As the award sponsor, North Island College had its vice-president of strategic planning and initiatives, Randall Heidt, present the award. The following is Randall’s speech.
This person is remembered for his dynamic leadership, sense of humour and ability to connect with and support others. This individual was a “rock” to many, always ready to lend an ear, words of wisdom or encouragement. The words popular, loved and respected are only a few words that begin to describe this individual.
This individual had a colourful and adventurous history in the 34 years he served in the Canadian Forces. He completed his physics and oceanography degree at Royal Roads Military College and after receiving his wings, he was selected to work as a jet instructor and then joined 407 Demon Squadron as a captain and then major. He led the Persian Gulf Long Range Patrol Task Force in 2003. After various ground jobs in the country, he returned to the Comox Valley Airport as CEO.
As airport chief, he presided over an unprecedented period of growth. His conscientious efforts to provide a world-class facility, with measured fiscal restraint, has left the airport well-positioned to weather this challenging period. This was typical of his commitment to his community and greatly appreciated by the airport board.
He was an avid athlete, dedicated member and volunteer for the Comox Valley Road Runners. He supported organizations such as the United Riders of Cumberland, the Comox Valley Road Runners and the Cumberland Community Forest Society.
He declined many nominations for the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement award over the past few years, never wanting to draw attention to himself. The Comox Valley Chamber board of directors is honoured to acknowledge the powerful impact that he had on our community.
We are honoured to recognize Fred Bigelow, retired Brigadier General and past CEO of the Comox Valley Airport, posthumously with the President’s Merit Award.
Sadly, Fred left us far too early in August this year. We know, without a doubt, he lives on in the hearts and lives of many in the Valley.
Fred, thank you for the impact and influence you had on our community.
You are greatly missed.
The 2020 Comox Valley Chamber Awards online auction is still live until Feb. 4, featuring everything from local art and gift baskets, to golf and getaways. The link is https://bit.ly/3tgZ5hA
For a photo gallery of the evening’s award winners, go to www.comoxvalleychamber.com/