Born and raised in Union Bay, Lane MacDonald has dedicated 55 years of his life to the volunteer fire service in the Comox Valley.
MacDonald began his firefighting career when he was 18 years old and joined the Union Bay Fire Department in a volunteer capacity.
“I thought it would be good community service,” explained the 74-year-old.
After five years with the department in Union Bay, MacDonald moved to Courtenay following his marriage and became a volunteer fireman with the Courtenay Fire Department in August 1971.
He moved up the ranks, becoming a lieutenant in 1984, then a captain in 1988. He was promoted to training officer in 1989, and retired from active firefighting duty in Dec. 2003 after 32 years.
Despite the retirement, MacDonald continues to this day as a training officer for new recruits to the Courtenay department.
MacDonald’s devotion to the fire service in British Columbia lead him to the duties of Zone Representation for Vancouver Island with the British Columbia Fire Training Officers Association. As a rep, he shared his years of experience in fire suppression and training to benefit other departments.
He said he’s been honoured to work for three chiefs, but said one particular generational highlight stands out in particular throughout the course of his firefighting career.
“I got to train my son (current Courtenay Deputy Fire Chief Kurt MacDonald) and my grandson.”
MacDonald said the nomination for the award “is most humbling, and I know there were always someone there before me (doing the work).”
He credits his great teachers throughout his years in the fire service, and noted “it has been a pleasure to serve the community.”
He added much credit should go toward his wife and family “who really deserve the honour,” as they always stood by his side when he had to rush off to a call during family dinners or was on call or had to leave during Easter or Christmas mornings.
“They are a very understanding family.”