On Jan 5 Al Cannon and I were in Enderby to convey Hornby Island Fire Rescue’s deep sadness in the death of Enderby firefighter Dan Botkin. We marched with over 1100 other firefighters in support of the Enderby Fire Department and a community mourning the tragic loss of one of their brightest stars.
The parade wound like a navy blue ribbon through 1KM of downtown streets lined with residents. The only sounds heard were the boots on the street and the pipers at the parade’s head… no cars… no busses… no voices. As we marched, the divisions between volunteer, paid, and auxiliary members melted away and we changed from an assembly to an association.
I saw the row of school kids who had been let out to watch the procession holding their colourful sign stating, “We salute our emergency workers” but was too emotional to acknowledge them. Same with the older gentleman who was unable to march but was standing along the route proudly wearing his long service medals.
Once at the arena, we entered in single file and filled the auditorium floor while the community members filled the stands. A moving service took place with some particularly powerful words from our Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point and two of Dan’s long time friends.
We travelled 11 hours each way in a cramped vehicle with 4 other firefighters, and at times on the way there I was wondering what I was doing it for. On the way home, though, I knew I would be willing to travel twice as far in worse conditions to experience again the pride and sense of belonging that I felt during that parade.
— Doug Chinnery