Rodger Kobierski and his family were recently recognized for their volunteer time with Colwood’s Emergency Planning Committee, and for very good reason.
Between Rodger, his wife Pat, son Sam, 25, and daughter Danielle, 24, the family has a combined 50 years’ worth of volunteering to make sure that residents of the West Shore are safe and accounted for during any crisis.
Rodger manages the amateur radio station at city hall and provides emergency communication should any kind of crisis hit the community.
“In any disaster of any type, we’re able to call upon our neighbours,” he said.
Kobierski said he became interested in CB radios as a hobby when he was a kid and over the years, it grew into a way to be more involved in his community and turn his hobby into “something good.”
Among many other duties, emergency services volunteers set up reception centres during crises, such as natural disasters or the recent chemical spill that occurred in View Royal, and ensure everyone has somewhere warm and safe to stay.
Rodger is also the emergency communications co-ordinator and arranges training, scheduling and support for the amateur radio operators who provide communications for the city in emergency situations.
Mayor Carol Hamilton remembered in particular a massive windstorm that swept through the city a decade ago, sending power lines and phones down and strewing debris everywhere.
“There were trees on houses, there was certainly a lot of recovery to be had, and in context, that was probably a very mild situation,” she said.
“It’s good to know that (emergency services) are there, putting in their time to make sure we’re all safe.”
The Kobierskis were at city hall to receive certificates of recognition from the mayor at a special presentation in December for emergency support services volunteers.
Rodger said he was “blindsided” by the ceremony in December. “It’s something I like to do. I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it because it’s fun and interesting.”
Hamilton admitted to putting the couple on the spot, but said it was important to acknowledge their longstanding volunteer commitment.
All told, nearly 70 Colwood residents were recognized for their volunteer contributions in many fields, including emergency services, the heritage commission, protective services and the parks, recreation and culture committee.
For information on volunteering in Colwood, visit bit.ly/13P2IOE. To find out about emergency services volunteering opportunities, go to crercc.com.