Blight honoured for ‘exemplary service’ by Governor General

Ted Blight has served in almost every role with the Sproat Lake Fire Volunteer Fire Department since he first joined in 1966.

Ted Blight

Ted Blight

Ted Blight has served in almost every role with the Sproat Lake Fire Volunteer Fire Department since he first joined in 1966.

Blight, who will hit his 50th year with the department in the summer, started off as the fire department’s mechanic, fixing its inaugural leaky fire truck, Mabel the Jeep.

Last Friday, he accepting a Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal.

(story continues below photo – courtesy Sgt. Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall)

 

 

 

 

Blight brushed off the significance of the award. “There’s 150 people…mine is sort of down the line a bit,” he said, but added it was an honour to be nominated.

“It certainly is an honour. Not everybody gets recognized by their country—sometimes your own little group says ‘whoop-de-do’ and claps their hands to say well done and that sort of thing—but to actually be recognized by the Governor General of our country is a very humbling thing,” said Blight the day prior to receiving his Second Bar to the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal from Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

“At the start of it all, I certainly didn’t think ‘oh goodie, I’m going to hang in here for all these years and somebody will give me one.’”

But it’s Blight’s dedication to the Sproat Lake department for all those years that inspired former fire Chief Wade Hepp to nominate him.

“I nominated him because he is the perfect example of a volunteer,” said Hepp.

“I’ve never heard a bad word out of him, I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He’s always there when you need him.”

Current fire Chief Mike Cann agreed.

“I’ve never seen him raise his voice,” Cann said.

“He’s always been positive.”

Blight has served many roles in the department, from mechanic to assistant fire chief to deputy fire chief and seen the department change and grow over the years.

“It just sort of happened. I enjoyed doing it…there have been a lot of changes and I’ve certainly been a part of it but so have a lot of other people—a lot of other people more deserving than I am, I would say. But I endured,” Blight said.

To Hepp, it’s not only Blight’s longevity that made him deserving of the award.

“Ted’s always there and willing to help,” Hepp said.

“At the West Bay (Hotel) fire, he was pump operator for 12 hours straight. He wouldn’t take a break.”

It wasn’t only Blight’s on-scene actions that were commended.

“When I was deputy chief, it was my job to organize the banquet. Well, Ted’s been our master of ceremonies for as long as I can remember,” said Hepp, who’s been at the department for 34 years.

“One year, his wife Jean booked a trip—a cruise—on the same day. He was so nervous to come tell me that he couldn’t be the MC this year, that Jean had booked him on this cruise.”

For Blight, it’s the memories of growing the department from a tiny 16-by-20-foot fire hall and a leaky Jeep to the fully-fledged three-hall, six-truck department it is today that he will treasure more than any medal.

“There was really nothing here when we started. To be a part of putting together a fire department—and I certainly didn’t do it all alone—and when I step back and look at what there is now, compared to what there was when I first went to the practice…” Blight said, pausing.

“When I see the lineup of vehicles and the training site that the fire department has put together and the number of homes we’ve saved and lives and the whole bit, I think wow, what a privilege it has been to be part of such an organization.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hupacasath, Tseshaht First Nations flags to fly at Port Alberni City Hall

Addition of permanent Indigenous flags are a response to reconciliation

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

The Comox Valley campus of North Island College. (File photo)
North Island College launches first Indigenous Plan

The plan signifies NIC’s commitment to become more Indigenous serving

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Most Read