Fred Bigelow was honoured posthumously at the  2020 Comox Valley Chamber Awards. Photo supplied

Comox Valley Chamber Awards pay tribute to former Comox Valley Airport CEO Fred Bigelow

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

For a photo gallery of the evening’s award winners, go to

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Courtenay skateboarder selected to first-ever national team

A young man from Courtenay is among 12 athletes who have been… Continue reading

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Most Read