NIPAWIN — Brian Starkell, Nipawin’s former fire chief, has been elected as the national president of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA).
Starkell started firefighting in 1976 for the Village of Codette as a junior firefighter. He aged his way to being a regular firefighter, before eventually being appointed as chief of the department.
He went on to act as the safety officer with the Nipawin Fire Department, ultimately accepting the position of fire chief for the town in 2010.
Starkell remained fire chief at Nipawin before retiring in 2019.
In 2012, he was the recipient of the CVFSA Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2019 was appointed ambassador.
“It’s a great honour to be involved with this organization and becoming the president of this large organization. It’s definitely a great honour,” he said.
“It’s a big step, which I’m open for the challenge.”
Starkell said the previous president had to step aside due to work duties, leaving the position vacant, at which point the board elected him.
“I’ve known this group of people here for a few years already, and of course being retired I have time to commit to it and some of the other folks still have things on their plate. So they asked if I would serve as president of the national board with the time I have, so I said I would.”
The term is two years, with an appointment after the term giving the possibility of a four year commitment.
Starkell estimates the job to take 20 to 30 hours per week at the start, before slowing down to about 20 hours.
As president, Starkell will be responsible for holding meetings with other firefighting agencies across the country such as the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada and Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighter Association.
“Right now we’re doing all of the bylaws and bringing them up to date with our constitution,” he said.
“Our secretary is up in Alberta, so we’re doing a lot of telephone conversations back and forth. But once we get the bylaws and constitution updated, then we’ll be able to focus on some of the other duties that will have to take place.”