Big White Fire Chief Jamie Svendsen has spent a lifetime as a firefighter, living and working in small communities and becoming immersed in those places.
From his beginnings as a paid-on-call firefighter in Ladysmith, Svendsen was first hired on by the Big White Fire Department eight years ago, arriving in the community with his wife and three children.
And from that time on Jamie has become a hard-working community member at Big White.
Whether it be responding to emergency calls at Big White or helping set-up community events, the chief is always around lending a helping hand.
Like a lot of community leaders, he does it without a second thought.
“I think everybody needs to give back to their community,” Jamie says. “I fell every fortunate to be in a job that I love. My position is paid for by the taxpayers so I feel it’s something I should do. I love to give back to the community. It’s a growing community going through transition so it’s been very interesting being involved.”
Among the program’s Jamie has a hand in is a work experience program that takes in six firefighters for 11-months of training.
The trainees are full-time firefighters while at Big White and the program has an 80 per cent hire rate, once the trainees graduate.
He also runs and relies on a department that has three full-time members and 34 paid-on call members, the most ever at Big White.
When it comes to community, Jamie and his department are right in the middle of things at Big White.
“Our philosophy at the fire department is to give back to the community as much as we get, so our department is very involved in the community. There are a lot of people who work just as hard or harder than me so this is very humbling.”