Assistant Fire Chief Don Roskelley (centre) takes command of a fire near the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Estevan Avenue Nov. 17, 2014. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Oak Bay assistant fire chief retires to end 2017

OBFD alum, community and municipal staff gather for cake, retirement begins Jan. 1

After 28 years on the job in Oak Bay, Assistant Fire Chief Don Roskelley plans to simply “let the dust settle” when he officially retires at the end of 2017.

Roskelley began his career in Oak Bay as a probationary firefighter on June 1, 1989. Until 1993 he served as a basic life support paramedic with the department’s ambulance while progressing to the rank of first-class firefighter. In 1999 he qualified to act in the lieutenant’s position and in 2002 he qualified as acting assistant chief. He was promoted to full lieutenant in 2003 and held that position until 2013 when he was promoted to his current rank.

His big plan to start 2018, and retirement, is just to take it easy.

Though he admits he’ll miss the teamwork and camaraderie of working with the Oak Bay Fire Department and the district in general.

Over his 28-plus-year career, Roskelley has served as the lead representative of the community CPR committee, the annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive, the Fire Fighters Bursary Committee and organized the first of many Oak Bay Fire Fighters Merrython Fun Run events in aid of C-Fax Santas Anonymous. He has also served his fellow firefighters as president of the Fire Fighters Benevolent Association and president of IAFF Union Local 1856.

“You get to know a lot of people on a first name basis,” he says of work with community groups and other district departments.

His standout memories remain as they did last time he was in the Oak Bay News, marking a quarter century of work at Oak Bay fire.

One was a decade in the making. Back when the ambulance also worked out of the hall, Roskelley remembers being on a call with a mother in labour.

“We were there with the advanced life support paramedics, and we were there for the birth of the baby,” he recalls.

A decade later, in June 2002, a trio Oak Bay firefighters – Roskelley, Duane Adsett and former chief Gerry Adam – travelled to New York to attend one of the ongoing funerals that followed the 9/11 tragedy. They learned that the baby’s family had moved to New York, and visited with that baby girl, now a 10-year-old who – given her birth story included firefighters – had been actively involved fundraising for her neighbourhood firehouse. An entire shift of her local heroes were among the 343 FDNY firefighters and other first responders who died on Sept. 11.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com
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