Doug Chinnery will literally give you the shirt off of his back.
As the long-serving chief of the Hornby Island Fire Department, Chinnery has been called the “calming presence” who quickly reassures people in crisis.
His community contributions, willingness to serve and leadership are only a few qualities which make him the Local Hero Emergency Services top honour.
Chinnery said when he and his wife Rachelle moved to Hornby Island 15 years ago, they did so to be in a place where they could be a part of, and contribute to, their community.
“The emergency services aspect is a bit complicated for me,” he noted.
“It’s always nice to be recognized, but I think that as a fire chief, working towards the betterment of our community is a part of the job. I also look at all the other fire chiefs who are doing incredible work for their communities and I know that I’m in good company.”
Chinnery’s nominators described him as “far too humble and down-to-earth,” but added he has been instrumental in serving his community by developing the pandemic outbreak plan, working with community groups and outside agencies to reinstate the Island’s helicopter landing zone for those needing immediate medical care, organizing the annual Polar Bear Swim, hosting the Christmas market and literally giving the shirt off his back to a community member.
He has also ensured the marginalized or isolated community members get transportation to the medical clinic so they don’t miss their appointments.
“All of the things that we have accomplished on Hornby have been team efforts,” he said. “There are big things like our new training facility, and there are things that are significant to a single person like improving their quality of life. None of those things was a one-person job.”
Those who know Chinnery describe him succinctly as “a true community leader and real life superhero.”