NIPAWIN — Brian Starkell, Nipawin’s fire chief, has been named an ambassador of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association.
The new appointment, made at the organization’s annual meeting in Nova Scotia on Aug. 15, means Starkell will be involved in monthly conference calls with the association’s board of directors. He will also be attending next year’s annual conference.
“With the direction of the board, we’re going to be moving province to province for the annual meetings and getting more fire departments involved with the organization,” Starkell said. “I’ll be involved with the planning of the conferences as well as taking part in the conferences as well.”
With the board of directors, he will also act as a host for firefighters who arrive from other countries, and will take special guests around communities to explain local firefighting.
Starkell said he felt honoured to receive the title.
“There was a selection committee that reviewed the applicants and I was selected out of that. It’s quite the honour to be selected for an ambassador for any organization, but especially for the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association.”
He believes he was appointed to the title due to his familiarity with the organization.
“Just being involved with the organization and knowing how the organization works for the last seven years, I believe that helped a lot.”
Starkell started firefighting in 1976 for the Village of Codette as a junior firefighter. He aged his way to being a regular firefighter, before eventually being appointed as chief of the department.
“We always had a retainer fee from the Nipawin fire department to assist with the Village of Codette,” he said.
Starkell then asked the Nipawin fire chief at the time if he could attend Nipawin training nights.
“I started doing some training nights and then I applied for the safety media officer with the Nipawin Fire Department, still living in the Village of Codette.”
He was awarded that position and when the previous fire chief retired, Starkell was named Nipawin’s new fire chief in 2010.
This year makes it 43 years since Starkell started serving as a firefighter.
He said he likes being a firefighter because it’s an honour to serve his community.
“Once you do your job properly – or do your job well – you get a lot of respect from the community you live in – and not just the community you live in, but also Saskatchewan and now right across Canada,” Starkell said.
“It just gives a good feeling when you do something and you give back to the community, and we’re all on the right page.”
He got involved with the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association in 2012, when he was the recipient of association’s lifetime achievement award. He currently serves on the selection committee for the lifetime achievement award as well as the committee for reviewing scholarships.
With the appointment of ambassador, Starkell said he will continue to be Nipawin’s fire chief.
“That’s always the forefront there, the fire chief’s position—and not just the fire chief; firefighters across Canada are there as well.”