Local public safety volunteer honoured by province
Six public safety lifeline volunteers, including a Cranbrook resident, are being recognized for their exceptional contributions to emergency and disaster response throughout the province as part of National Volunteer Week, April 7 to 13.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, presented the awards to the winners at the annual Public Safety Lifeline volunteer ceremony at the Parliament Buildings. Emergency Management BC staff joined Farnworth to celebrate the achievements of each volunteer and their contribution to their communities.
“The dedication and sacrifice displayed by these Public Safety Lifeline volunteers reflects the selflessness and generosity of spirit that forms the core of emergency response in British Columbia,” said Farnworth. “These individuals work independently and as part of a larger community to be of service to others in their time of need. These community leaders are determined to help others and make our communities stronger and safer. On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, I want to commend and congratulate each one.”
These award-winners are a select few among thousands of Public Safety Lifeline volunteers who conduct air and ground search and rescue, help extricate victims trapped by serious motor vehicle accidents, set up communication networks and co-ordinate services for victims of natural disasters.
This year’s award-winners are:
Road Rescue – Dale Hark, Cranbrook;
Emergency Support Services – Deb Chmara, Castlegar;
Lifetime Achievement Award – Patrick (Paddy) Flanagan, Kaslo;
Search and Rescue – Les Sakals, Clearwater;
Radio Communications – Doug Barry (posthumous), Delta;
PEP Air – John Lamb, Ladysmith.
Dale Hark – Road Rescue
Dale and his twin brother were born in Vancouver; living on Vancouver Island for over four years, they were raised and continue to live in southeastern B.C.
Dale’s desire for supporting and helping others in need started in 1983 after he got a job at the local Elko Sawmill. He became the first aid attendant while working at the mill, and his passion for people grew from there. Dale started to assist with overseeing and training the sawmill fire bridge and in 1991, eventually took over emergency management for the mill, which then drove the development of an emergency response crew for not just fires, but other emergency situations.
Dale continued to hone his skills and in 2013 he began his role as a member of Cranbrook’s SAR Highway Rescue team and was blown away by the skill and professionalism of the team.
Their crew responded 24 hours a day, seven days a week to any type of motor vehicle incident, and the crew averaged 80 to 100 calls a year which rates them the top three busiest road rescue societies in B.C.
Of course raising a family did take priority, and as his four children grew up he began to take on even more activities with the support of his wife.
In 2015 Dale became ground rescue certified with Cranbrook SAR and he is looking forward to gaining his ropes rescue certification with ground search and rescue.
Currently, Dale works full-time for Canfor in Elko and lives in Cranbrook with his wife Karen, where he serves as Battalion Chief for Elko Volunteer Fire Department as paid on-call officer and firefighter.
Dale assists with fire fighter training and he does first responder training for all of the departments. When at home, Dale continues to respond with Cranbrook SAR, and teaches all levels of first aid within the community.
Dale would like to thank his nominator(s) for nominating him for this award. He would also like to thank the awesome highway rescue crew and all the South Country Elk Valley firefighters that he has had the honour of training and serving with. But more importantly, he would like to thank his amazing wife Karen who has supported and continues to support him as this is a sacrifice that many families, like his own, experience with volunteer service.
Public Safety Lifeline volunteers demonstrate a selfless commitment to the safety of B.C. families and communities during emergencies. More than 13,000 Public Safety Lifeline volunteers in British Columbia respond to an average of 6,000 incidents each year.
There are approximately 2,500 registered search and rescue volunteers around B.C. who respond to more than 1,700 incidents annually. In 95% of cases, subjects are found or rescued within the first 24 hours.
Road Rescue volunteers attend more than 2,000 motor vehicle accidents annually throughout the province. Under the road rescue organization, teams provide vehicle extrication, rope rescue and other specialized rescue services to help protect B.C.’s travelling public.