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REPORTING · 18th February 2015
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat Emergency Program Coordinator, Bob McLeod, retired from the position on January 31st 2015 after 50 years of service.

McLeod first got involved with the program in 1961 when one of his co-workers went missing. McLeod was involved in the search for him, and subsequent searches.

“In the mid-60s, the Province was pushing the RCMP Axillaries to be the key search group in the community, as a part of that, I got into the RCMP Auxiliary,” said McLeod.

Steve Stevenson, a member of the auxiliary became the Emergency Coordinator and McLeod became his deputy. When Stevenson left, McLeod took over the position of Coordinator. At this time, it included marine rescue.

He remained the Emergency Coordinator until 1990. In 1999, McLeod resumed his position as Coordinator.

“It was sort of an evolution. There was no plan to get involved, everything just sort of fell in,” said McLeod.

What accomplishments is McLeod proud of? He told us Kitimat has one of the best trained and largest ESS teams in Northern BC, maybe even the province. There are 20 capable people, some of them have been involved for 15 years.

Kitimat also has one of the strongest Search and Rescue teams in BC. McLeod said this came out of the search on Mount Elizabeth. He was the Prime Search Manager on that project.

“Finally, was probably getting the Municipality to open an EOC, and they have some very well trained people as well,” said McLeod.

For his years of volunteering, McLeod was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal. It was awarded to him at UBC at a ceremony.

McLeod is very happy with the legacy he has left. He expressed there are a number of people who are still alive because of the work he has done, and there are also a few families they have helped recover for.

He has worked hard to pass the torch. His children, grandchildren, relatives and even his great granddaughter are involved in the Emergency Program. McLeod will still be there to provide advice for the next generation.

“Bob’s mentorship over the years has provided us with some really good volunteers for Emergency Services and Search and Rescue,” said Mayor Phil Germuth. “Those 53 years Bob was serving this community and we’re really going to miss him.”

Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated the emergency Program is in really good shape with volunteers thanks to Bob McLeod.

We asked McLeod if there were any public safety tips he would like to stress. Referring to last weeks snowstorm: “In light of what we just went through, I think a lot of folks should be looking at their personal preparedness.”

He explained every year, he would put out fliers in the mail encouraging people how to have a personal preparedness plan, to have a minimum of three day’s worth of supplies and have a plan. The plan is good for an Earthquake, forest fire, evacuation or ‘snowmageddon.’
Great job well done!
Comment by Vera Hoffert on 19th February 2015