150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Stan McCarthy has been named one of 19 British Columbians receiving the province’s Medal of Good Citizenship.
“It’s pretty cool,” McCarthy said from his home in 150 Mile House Tuesday. “I knew I was getting it because they phoned me and let me know, I was just waiting for the official word to let people know.”
He said he didn’t know who had nominated him, but that he was grateful for the recognition.
“It feels really good,” he said, emphasized with his signature warm chuckle.
Premier John Horgan said it is an honour to congratulate the community leaders whose commitment helps strengthen society.
“The Medal of Good Citizenship awards recognize these individuals and their remarkable contributions to our communities and our province as a whole,” Horgan said in a press release.
Launched in 2015, the Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward.
The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life.
“Everyone receiving medals today embodies the best qualities of being a British Columbian,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and chair of the medal’s selection committee.
“All of us on the selection committee were impressed by the generosity, compassion and sacrifice each and every one of the recipients has demonstrated. Congratulations to all honourees.”
McCarthy is one of the founding members of the fire department and has been part of it for 38 years and chief since 1990.
He became well known during the 2017 wildfires when he and his firefighters stayed behind to fight the fires for the duration.
McCarthy led the department through this challenging time ensuring all fire department members’ needs were met while protecting citizens of the community, along with their homes.
He reached out to the community and offered extra help wherever possible ensuring the little things were looked after while managing the huge responsibilities that came with the fire response efforts.
Notably, he initiated efforts to help the community’s animal population left behind during the evacuation by arranging for food and water to be delivered by fire department members
In 2003, he travelled to Kelowna to assist the province in the emergency response to the wildfires there.
During his time as chief he has helped develop a vibrant fire department focused on community service and constant improvement.
With files from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
The department’s Halloween party is always popular and there is a skating rink outside the hall that is used heavily during the winter.
He even plows the rink after every snowfall.
McCarthy has advocated for and led the department through professional training and certification for members. This ensured their safety and at the same time, provided a professionally trained core of volunteers ready to respond to the community.
Training now includes the National Fire Protection Agency’s 1001 accredited training standard, an accomplishment that many volunteer fire departments do not achieve. McCarthy was also one of the first leaders to see the need to add medical aid for the community and started the fire department’s medical first responder program.