A Comox Valley Thank You
Many people in the Comox Valley enrich our lives, and make them safer and more secure on a daily basis. But how often do we thank them? Especially the volunteers? Having worked alongside many Canadians and Americans who were never personally thanked for the sacrifices they made while responding to the 9/11 tragedy, I understand how important a simple thank you can be.
Our Comox Valley police officers often respond to many different kinds of incidents that we either do not hear about or are not aware of. Under the Police Act, police in British Columbia maintain law and order, enforce the law and they prevent crime. Within British Columbia, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has overall responsibility for public safety and the protection of our citizens. In our area, our RCMP municipal detachment is charged with these responsibilities. Police officers are often called to respond to a variety of different situations, some of which can get dangerous and ugly. Domestic disputes, drug busts, and other crime are among them. They can get the call anytime day or night, be asked to work overtime, or get called away to another area to meet the needs of the situation at hand. The types of jobs that they do are often thankless. In addition, they are subject to inspections, evaluations, reviews, and a code of professional conduct regulation (on and off duty) on an ongoing basis. My brother was a police officer for many years and my son-in-law still is so I have a good appreciation of what they go through and deal with on a regular basis.
Our CFB Comox military personnel conduct a variety of operations on a daily and routine basis. Some of these operations place their lives at risk. The National Defence Act establishes the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, both of which are responsible to the Federal Minister of National Defence. Military personnel are subject to inspections, evaluations, reviews, the special powers of command, the Law of Armed Conflict, a military justice system (in addition to all of the other laws in Canada), and codes of values and ethics and conduct. These personnel can be assigned to operations that range from those conducted in peacetime through wartime. Military personnel, in addition to conducting their regular operations and readiness training in Canada, may be called upon to assist during a major disaster, support the operations of other government departments, and to participate in operations around the globe – often on short notice.
Locally, military Search and Rescue personnel are on call 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to respond to incidents and accidents over Comox Valley land and water. The Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue is a volunteer organization that is part of the Canadian Search and Rescue system. Station 60 is located here in Comox. The Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue unit is a volunteer organization that responds to requests made by the RCMP to provide assistance in search and rescue operations (such as avalanche or swift water rescue) or civil disasters. The Courtenay (Rescue Unit 71), Comox (Rescue Unit 36), and Cumberland (Rescue Vehicle Unit 4 and Rescue Boat Unit 8) Fire Departments respond to fires and a wide variety of accidents and incidents. These Fire Rescue Units are trained and certified to provide a wide variety of preventative, emergency preparedness, and emergency response services to the Comox Valley. They are populated by a combination of full-time, paid-on-call, and volunteer personnel.
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, our ambulance services, and a variety of other Comox Valley health care professionals provide us with many services on a daily basis. Many of these people are on call to respond to emergencies, and they can work long hours to attend to our various needs. My middle brother served as a paramedic for more than 20 years and my youngest daughter is a doctor so I have a very good appreciation of some of the sacrifices they make in order to provide us with the services that we need and rely upon. they are seldom featured in the newspaper for the work that they do for us.
Besides these people, there are many Comox Valley volunteers in our community who help, and who enrich the lives of others. Whether they volunteer at the food bank, a local soup kitchen, assisting our elderly, or coaching our young children, they all spend time, money and effort providing services to others.
As Good Friday approaches, we are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice. There is nothing in this material world more significant than people who make sacrifices for the good of others or while in the service of others. Selflessness (the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good) is one of the best elements of our society. It is too bad that most news outlets choose to report the bad over the good on many occasions as a means of selling their product. When people help others for the right reasons, our lives and society are richer because of their sacrifices. Now that spring has arrived and summer is fast approaching, it is appropriate to think of and to thank all of those people who enrich our lives, and make them safer, and more secure.
To all of the Comox Valley 1st responders, emergency preparedness and other response personnel, and to all of the volunteers in the Comox Valley – THANK YOU for your contributions and for your ongoing services to our community and society.
by Brett Cairns