Above and Beyond: Ootischenia Fire Chief George Hamm
As our province braces itself for what is looking to be yet another season of arguably catastrophic floods and fires, the Castlegar Source and the Trail Champion are launching a new segment called Above and Beyond (the Call of Duty) in which we highlight the remarkable self-sacrifice, courage, integrity and know-how exhibited by our first responders across the region.
While there’s a very real possibility a lot of the coming news coverage will be frightening and negative, our publications feel residents should know (and be reassured by) some of the good news; the amazing acts of kindness and caring that happen behind the scenes in these situations.
Should you have such a story to tell us about a first responder you know, please email editor Kyra Hoggan at khoggan@ telus.net
We’re going to start with Ootischenia Fire Chief George Hamm.
At 46 years old, he has been a firefighter for 20 years and chief for three. The list of remarkable things he’s done in service to his community during times of crisis is lengthy, rich and interesting, but for the purposes of brevity, we’re just going to share the most recent one.
Rural Grand Forks is currently in a state of emergency as flooding has created the need for the evacuation of more than 2,500 residents (1,158 households) and evacuation alerts for thousands more.
Hamm, who works as a welder at Zelstoff Celgar, should have spent his day sleeping in preparation for his afternoon shift today.
Instead, he got up and went to the RDCK in Nelson, got a van and cots, then picked up cots from the Castlegar Fire Department . He then drove said cots to the Grand Forks and Midway evacuees centre, only to turn around and hurry back to get to work for 4 p.m. (unfortunately, as of 4:54 p.m., he’s still not back, as the need for help was too great for him to leave).
It is this kind of tireless, relentless, selfless behind-the-scenes service which sees our communities through calamitous times, and it’s exactly the kind of service we want to showcase in Above and Beyond (the Call of Duty), both to reassure residents and express our gratitude to the men and women who stand at the front lines of our most dangerous and frightening events.
Thank you, George.
Hail to the Chief.