Above: Fire Chief Brad Boddez is seen in this Morinville News file photo gathering pizzas to take to unsuspecting homeowners last fall as part of National Fire Prevention Week. – Morinville News File Photo
by Morinville News Staff
with files from Tristan Turner
The Town of Morinville announced Friday the Municipality would be moving to a full-time Fire Chief in early 2017.
Morinville Fire Chief Brad Boddez has served as a volunteer firefighter for 30 years, the past three-and-a-half as Morinville’s part-time Fire Chief.
After 15 years of dedicated service with the City of Edmonton, Chief Boddez recently accepted the full-time Fire Chief position in Morinville commencing in March of 2017 and will be retiring from the Edmonton Fire Services to take on the expanded role in Morinville.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue working for the Morinville Fire Department in this expanded capacity, and I certainly appreciate the support from Council, Administration, and the members of the Morinville Fire Department,” Chief Boddez said in a release Friday. “The support shown has helped the difficult but exciting decision to transition from a great career with the Edmonton Fire Department to one with Morinville Fire Services.”
Boddez’ boss, David Schaefer, Director of Community & Protective Services, said he was excited for the opportunity to work more closely with Boddez as the Town continues to move closer to city status. “The expertise and experience both in his personal and professional life that Fire Chief Boddez has to offer make him the perfect person for this role,” Schaefer said.
Boddez’ predecessor, former Morinville Fire Chief Ron Cust, was also pleased with the announcement both for his predecessor and the community.
“This is just the first sign of where Morinville is heading,” Cust said. “It’s transitioning into city status, and whether it actually calls itself a city or not, it’s operating like one. This move [ to a [full-time fire chief] sets forward the position Morinville has in the area and the Capital Region as an entity that operates in a similar fashion t0 the full-time career departments.”
Cust went on the say the skill set that Chief Boddez brings tot he table is one of years of service, both in a volunteer and career capacity.
“Morinville is very fortunate to be able to take somebody that is from this area that understands the system, and be able to hire him for that particular position,” Cust said.
The announcement comes days after Chief Boddez joined Mayor Lisa Holmes and Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn Van Dijken in congratulating and handing out a variety of awards to members of Morinville’s Fire Department in honour of their service to the region. The ceremony took place during Council’s last meeting of 2016.
Firefighters were awarded multiple awards for their service, including long service awards for 5, 10, 35 and 45 years of service. The longest was present to Bud Rockwell for 45 years of service. As well, members who served in the fight against the fires in Wood Buffalo this year were awarded for their service on behalf of premier Rachel Notley. There were five members recognized that evening for their service in the time of crisis, including Ben Lamer, Steven Holubowich, Jamie Tapper, Keith Gervais and Steve Hammond. They were offered a medallion and certification following a message from the Premier offered by Van Dijken.
Van Dijken thanked Council for the honour to be there that evening, and thanked each member for “the incredible service that you bring to your community and province.”
Other awards were given out to 17 members who completed the National Fire Protection Association’s 1001 18-month education program, bringing the Morinville Department up to more than 90 per cent of the membership having received this certification.
Van Dijken also awarded Deputy Chief Joel Houle with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal on behalf of Sturgeon River-Parkland MP and Conservative Party and Official Opposition Interim Leader Rona Ambrose.