A tenacious work ethic and tireless commitment to training earned Evan Hauser Ucluelet’s 2019 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year award.
“Evan really pushed ahead with his training this year,” fire chief Rick Geddes told the Westerly News. “It’s important to recognize a good job in general. I think it helps with motivation as well, but the big thing is recognizing a job above and beyond what’s expected of you as a volunteer.”
Geddes said Hauser pushed himself to complete exams and training on his own time and in impressively short order, noting the workloads associated with certifications can be daunting.
“Something we stress when a new recruit joins is what’s expected of them. Sometimes, that will scare people away, but it’s a reality that we need that level of commitment out of them. It’s not just a club you can join to get a T-Shirt and a hat, it is a big commitment for the members and their spouses and their families as well,” Geddes said. “Thankfully, we’ve got a really good, really engaged crew here, so motivation isn’t an issue.”
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Hauser told the Westerly he was honoured to be recognized for his hard work.
“It’s just an extra nice pat on the back after a year of working hard. It doesn’t really change anything overall, it’s saying, ‘We noticed you’ve done a good job and congratulations.’ Then, you just keep on going,” he said. “It’s something that I can show my kids; in 2019 I was the Firefighter of the Year.”
Hauser lived in Tofino for seven years before moving to Ucluelet in 2014. He joined the brigade in 2015.
“I thought it was a really good way to get to know a lot of the community and to give back and immerse myself in the community,” he said.
He added the comradery within the brigade is tremendous and that their teamwork goes beyond the firehall, recalling instances where members have been quick to help each other with home improvement projects and moving days.
“It’s a brotherhood and a sisterhood…You just call on your brotherhood and your sisterhood and we’re all there to help each other,” he said. “It’s those little extra things that go a long way and it’s like growing a family within the community.”
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He added he enjoys the rewarding experiences that come with responding to emergencies.
“It feels really good to help someone at, sometimes, their darkest moment or their hardest time. They’re having a really bad day and you’re in their house at 2 a.m. helping them out. It feels good,” he said.
Hauser attributed his ambitious certification pursuit to his desire to progress into a leadership role within the Ucluelet Fire Brigade and added that he plans to begin working on a master’s degree within two years and wants to have his full firefighter certification wrapped up first.