When Craig Chapman first came to Field, working in health care wasn’t at the top of his mind.
He first landed in Canada in the mid-1980s from his home country of Zimbabwe, before an extended period of travel.
Spending time in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, he first came to Field 24 years ago, when he accepted what he thought would be a summer job managing Emerald Lake Lodge.
“We came out and it was the most fantastic summer ever, so we just never left,” said Chapman, who has called Field his home ever since.
“There’s a reason Canada is always in the top few places in the world to live in, in terms of your ability to work and live in a free and fair society.
“You really are free from a lot of problems politically and economically here that are present elsewhere.”
Chapman says he initially joined Field Fire and Rescue as a volunteer, stating his desire to get involved in the community.
From there, he was encouraged to join the paramedics, due to his first aid and medical training he received while working at the lodge.
He hasn’t looked back since.
“I’m very community driven, I’ve always been involved in volunteering with different organizations, whether it’s recreation or such,” said Chapman.
“Being involved in the community and helping the community has always been a big part of it.”
As a part of the B.C. Ambulance service, Chapman was one of the first people licensed and trained on administering the COVID-19 immunizations, which he says felt tremendous.
Chapman is currently helping out with the Golden vaccine rollout, something he says he’s enjoying as it allows him to reconnect with the community and those who he hasn’t seen much of over the last two years.
He also had the opportunity to help with the mass vaccination rollout in Field, where he was able to vaccinate his own family.
“It’s all pretty special, smiles and laughs all around,” said Chapman.
“When you’re actually vaccinating people, it’s huge, it really bonds you with your community.
“To just see everyone coming through the clinic, people you haven’t seen in years and to be the one giving the vaccine, it’s pretty cool.”
When he’s not vaccinating people, Chapman is busy with preventative community health, which involves working within the community, predominantly with elderly populations, in order to help reduce 9/11 calls and other health initiatives.
That work is part of what makes vaccinating Golden so rewarding for him, seeing all the people who are happy and healthy coming through the clinics to do their part.
“By and large, if we respond to calls, we generally see people who are not doing well,” he said.
“It’s really rewarding to see that there are so many people in Golden, especially 70 and older, who are doing so well.
“It’s wonderful to see so many health people in the population.”
While he enjoys working with the community, he says one of his favourite parts of the job is the emergency response aspect, especially along the highway in Field.
“Sometimes just us showing up with a warm box is the best part of their day. People who get into vehicle accidents, they’ve had a terrible incident and we can be there to help them, it’s always exceptionally rewarding.”