He has seen 40 years of incidents, 40 years of training and 40 years of growing the Comox Fire Rescue, and Fire Chief Gord Schreiner was honoured for his commitment to the department last week by Governor General David Johnston.
He, along with three other Comox Valley residents – Donald Knight, Sgt. Russell Scott Short and retired Lt.-Col. Sydney Burrows received awards at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver last week as part of honours presented by the governor general.
“It was a real honour; I was really flattered by this,” explained Schreiner who received the second bar to the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal, in recognition of his 40 years of loyal and exemplary service to public safety in Canada.
The first bar is given after 30 years of service, he noted, and the second after 40.
“I am blessed to work at a job that I love.”
More than 150 Canadians from western Canada were recognized for their excellence, courage or exceptional dedication to service.
Knight received the Caring Canadian Award for his dedication to serving naval veterans in the Valley for more than 20 years. He advises them on the various benefits and services available to former military personnel.
He also visits local seniors’ residences to address their interests and concerns, as well as those of their families.
Short, who was instrumental in the rescue of a seriously injured hiker on Mount Arrowsmith in September 2013, received the Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division). He led more than 100 rescue volunteers from five different ground search and rescue organizations and utilized his expertise as a rope rescue specialist to lower the victim 1,100 metres safely down the mountain, as part of one of the longest rope rescue operations in B.C.’s history.
Burrows received the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) for spearheading the creation of In the Service of Canada, the 7th Book of Remembrance housed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
Its pages preserve the names of Canadian Armed Forces personnel who died while on duty between October 1947 and the present day, with the exception of those who were involved in the Korean War.
Schreiner, who was named Canadian Career Fire Chief of the Year in 2010, said he was made aware of the nomination a few months ago, but had to agree to not reveal any details.
Also receiving Caring Canadian Award, for his efforts in the arts, was Brian Balfe of Powell River.
Over the past decade, Balfe has been committed to advancing musical arts and culture in Powell River and the Comox Valley. As a founding director and president of the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA), he has built a non-profit organization that promotes musical culture in his community and provides students with unique learning opportunities.