Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson (left) said goodbye to one of his most dedicated firefighters yesterday, as Captain Glenn Beierle (right) retired from the department after 30 years of service. (Photo from Twitter)

Penticton Fire Department says farewell to Cpt. Glenn Beierle

Beierle retired on Oct. 17 following 30 years of service with the department

Yesterday the Penticton Fire Department said farewell to one of its most dedicated members, with the retirement of Cpt. Glenn Beierle.

Beierle served the Penticton community as a firefighter for 30 years and said he is thankful for the opportunity to give back to others and be a part of the Penticton Fire Department family. He said it is hard to pick any one thing he is proud of accomplishing throughout his career.

“It’s been tough. It wasn’t an easy decision for me since this place is my family. I worked for the city for a few years before I joined the department, where I’ve worked the last 30 years. So it’s 37 years altogether serving the City of Penticton,” said Beierle. “There’s been some lives out there that I’ve been able to affect. For example, it’s not often when you use an AED (automated external defibrillator) that you are able to resuscitate someone, but there was one individual we were able to save and it’s just one of those things that I remember. This is an individual that I know now and see out and about in the community, so it’s huge.”

Beierle said he has been humbled by all of the well-wishes he has received from the community, noting that as a firefighter he was able to help many people in different roles and circumstances. This can make it hard to remember everyone, but he said he is always happy when someone recognizes him and takes the time to thank him for his service.

“It’s actually funny because people will go, ‘Hey, remember when you did this?’ and it takes you back. Because there’s so many things that you do throughout your career that you kind of lose thought of, and then someone will tell you they remember you, it’s a great feeling,” said Beierle. “I loved serving the community, it’s been fabulous. It’s just a great place to work and there’s great people here.”

READ MORE: Coming Home: Penticton fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

Over the past three decades, the fire department has become a second family to Beierle, which makes his retirement bitter-sweet. He said given that it is a small department, a lot is asked of its members and they have to be “versatile in what they do” to serve the community.

“There’s a lot of things that I’ve done in my career that we didn’t have to do when I first started. Like with the drug overdoses and the needles, delivering naloxone or administering drugs is something I never thought we’d have to do. But the duties we do in general as a smart department, we don’t have specialized teams like big departments, so our guys have to do everything,” said Beierle. “We do swift water and ice rescue and all those things we never did when I first started. Or high angle technical rescue, we do that. So there’s a lot asked of these guys that people don’t realize, and it’s a lot for a small department but the guys here are really sharp and they’re a great bunch.”

Beierle said his next “challenge” will be winding down in his retirement after a fast-paced career. He said as a firefighter, he has been trained to always to be ready for anything, and his rank in the department meant a lot of responsibility fell on his shoulders.

READ MORE: ‘It’s almost surreal’: Penticton fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

“I’m just going to try and wind down a little bit and try to get my mindset to deprogram from here, from all the year of seeing things and doing things, and just try to settle back into a normal routine,” said Beierle. “I’ll just be trying to slow down, since as a captain you have a lot of responsibilities. So it’s just about taking a big breath and enjoying life a little bit.

“It will be a part of my life that I am going to greatly miss because it’s nice to fly that flag. It’s been fabulous, it’s been a huge part of my life. I’ve raised my kids here, and all of the department are like the big brothers, and my wife has been great, putting up with me being away a lot, so it’s emotional.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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