Swansea Point and Ranchero/Deep Creek firefighters share a commitment to community that has come to include cheering on the Sicamous Eagles.
Two years ago, when Covid vaccine mandates were in place regarding recreational gathering at events, several Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) fire departments were feeling split when some members did not want to be vaccinated and so were unable to attend, said Steve Norton, Swansea Point fire chief.
As restrictions eased, the Swansea Point and Ranchero/Deep Creek departments wanted to find a way to socialize and bond again, and there was no better way than to go to a good old hockey game, Norton laughed.
Although the crews can only attend home games so as to never leave their communities unprotected in case of fire, the firefighters greatly enjoy supporting the team and socializing at the Sicamous arena.
“Last year the Eagles had a little bit of a run – with their new head coach they made it into a playoff position and that was exciting,” said Norton. “With Nick (Deschenes) as their coach, they got to fourth in the division and then went up against Revelstoke who was number one. But they’ve been doing great, it’s been completely amazing to watch these kids grow and go from barely knowing each other to a force to be reckoned with.”
Norton’s spouse is a Sicamous Eagles board member so the two attend a lot of games, and he said other firefighters go to games often as well, even if the crews don’t go as a group bonding experience. He stressed the importance of supporting community and local sports as best they can.
The fire departments organize a holiday food and toy drive every year as well and, as all 13 CSRD fire departments are grouped under one umbrella, they band together and help each other with whatever each community needs, said Norton. In the summer, departments will have water fights and firefighting hose splash zones. When Swansea Point experienced high water levels last year, firefighters filled sand bags for community members.
‘The Eagles are so supportive of us too, it’s mutual,” said Norton. “Those kids are so involved out in the community, we all do what we can for each other. Stacking firewood, digging septic tank holes, you name it.”
Swansea Point, Ranchero, Deep Creek and all CSRD fire department are always in need of volunteer firefighters. There is no experience required to become a volunteer, as all training and equipment is provided.
“It’s just someone that has the heart and wants to help their community,” said Norton. “It’s also one of the best ways to meet new people, good people.”
The Eagles always appreciate more fans filling the seats and enjoying some fast-paced hockey action.
“Their idea is to go further with the sport in the future, and they need community support to get there. They love to see people out there.”
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