The Kaleden Volunteer Fire Department has said goodbye to one of its longest-serving members.
Denis Gaudry is retiring after serving his community as a firefighter since 1992.
Now, as a fire chief more than 30 years later, he is offically hanging up his turnout gear.
“It is a pleasure to know you, some for many years and some for only a few months. That is the nature of volunteer departments,” Gaudry said.
A number of community leaders paid tribute to Gaudry following his announcement Wednesday, May 31.
The long-serving fire chief often refers to the KVFD as the “little department that can.”
“Under the guidance of Fire Chief Gaudry, KVFD established effective leadership committees to support a team environment,” said Subrina Monteith, Electoral Area “I” director at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. “His commitment to encouraging collaboration set the standard for a successful, respectful, and inclusive volunteer fire department.”
The RDOS says the Kaleden department developed “strong financial stewardship” under Gaudry’s leadership, which included building reserves to buy new equipment.
Kaleden also recently became a FireSmart community, thanks to the work and support from volunteers like Gaudry.
The fire chief will now have more time spend with his wife, Linda, and their grandchildren to go fishing, according to a farewell message from the RDOS.
“On behalf of the South Okanagan Similkameen Fire Chiefs Association, I’d like to congratulate Fire Chief Gaudry on an exemplary career,” said Willowbrook Fire Chief Tony Iannella.
“Fire Chief Gaudry was a driving force in creating the Fire Chiefs Association, and all our fire chiefs will miss having him as part of our group. His service to his and the surrounding communities has made a huge difference and is greatly appreciated.”