The District of West Kelowna issued a press release to thank retiring West Kelowna Fire Rescue Chief Wayne Schnitzler for his years of excellent service and wishes him well in his future endeavors.
Chief Schnitzler announced his intention to retire, effective March 27, in Dec. 2014.
“We knew this day would come and are very pleased with the appointment of our new Fire Chief, Jason Brolund, but it is with a very heavy heart that I say goodbye to Chief Schnitzler,” said Mayor Doug Findlater. “I know that all of Council and, indeed, anyone who has ever met this great man, feels the same as I do.”
Chief Schnitzler has been the Fire Chief of West Kelowna Fire Rescue since March 2008 and was previously the Fire Chief for the former Westside Fire Protection District beginning in 1996.
“He is such a positive, outgoing, intelligent man and he brought a wealth of experience to our fire service, which provides service for Westbank First Nation and westside unincorporated areas as well. His professionalism and enthusiasm in his field earned him a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, nominated by his peers and he is indeed a local celebrity,” says Mayor Findlater.
“But without a doubt the thing I most want to thank Wayne for is his leadership and strength during our most trying times, our multiple emergency responses to forest fire threat. I have watched him bring together multiple agencies under one command with little turmoil or conflict on numerous occasions and I have stood at his side at countless press conferences and heard him deliver his calm, comforting messages to the public,” says Mayor Findlater. “He will truly, truly be missed, and I dearly hope he will not disappear from public life completely.”
Previous to moving to the Okanagan, Chief Schnitzler began his fire service in 1979 as a paid on call firefighter with the City of Surrey, becoming a full-time career firefighter in 1982. Chief Schnitzler worked his way through the ranks, becoming captain of training before being hired by the Westside Fire Protection District.