Cumberland’s manager of protective services, Mike Williamson, was recently honoured for his 45 years with the village’s fire department.
At the Dec. 14 council meeting, Mayor Leslie Baird marked the occasion, providing an overview of the fire chief and his career, as he has received the B.C. Long Service Medal from the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
Williamson joined the department in 1971 at age 16 as a junior firefighter, then left for work reasons in 1978 for three years. He rejoined and became a regular firefighter, rising in the ranks to lieutenant, captain and assistant chief.
“During this time, the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department was known for its high standards of training, auto extrication and dedication to the village,” Baird said.
In 2020, he was hired by the village for the position of manager of protective services, expanding his role as fire chief.
“Congratulations on receiving your bar for 45 years of service to a very thankful community,” the mayor told him.
Williamson displayed his medals and bar for council members to see during the Zoom meeting.
“Wow, that’s the bling,” said Coun. Sean Sullivan.
The fire chief spoke briefly about his time with the department, thanking council, his fellow firefighters and the residents for entrusting him with the job.
“Being in a fire department this many years, it’s part of your life now. It’s just normal,” he said. “I feel really proud of having the trust of the community, and I find that very rewarding and very special.”
Williamson pointed out there are a couple of other long-term members with the department, including one with 50 years, who are receiving awards and the hope is to hold a celebration at the same time as the new fire hall opens.
“We only have five members that have ever had 50 years,” he said.
The province gives B.C. Long Service Medals to people with at least 25 years of paid or volunteer fire service, as well as the B.C. Long Service Bar for 35 and 45 years of fire service.