Parker Vaile may have left the building, but he has definitely not been forgotten.
In December 2022, Vaile retired from the Nicholson Fire Department after serving as fire chief since 2013.
On Tuesday, Aug. 8, members of the department presented him with a plaque to thank him for his years of service and leadership. Vaile also received a commemorative axe on behalf of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
CSRD Deputy Fire Chief Sean Coubrough has high praise for Vaile, who joined the department in 2008.
Coubrough had become fire chief in Field in 2010 and was delighted when Vaile took on the role three years later in Nicholson.
“I was very appreciative of having another young person at the meetings with the other white haired fire chiefs,” he laughs. “I felt very out of place until Parker showed up and it helped cure me of my imposter syndrome.”
Coubrough explains that the Nicholson Fire Department is geographically the farthest away from the regional district head office in Salmon Arm. As such it requires very strong leadership as Coubrough is unable to offer the same operational support that he is able to provide to the other CSRD fire departments
Vaile was fire chief in 2015 when the Nicholson Fire Department earned CSRD Fire Department of the Year, a distinction that is given based on a number of factors, including training, culture and operations.
“The strength of the members depends on its leadership and Parker was a uniter, a person people wanted to work with and for,” Coubrough adds. “He cared very deeply about his community and wanted to make sure it had the best fire protection that the fire department could deliver.”
As well, Coubrough says Vaile was a passionate advocate for his fire department, working hard behind the scenes to make sure the firefighters had all the resources they needed to do the job.
“I would like to convey my enormous respect for Parker and all that he has done for his department,” Coubrough says, noting Vaile is a husband, father and business owner and is stepping aside to give them more time. “We are very fortunate to have had him in that position.”
Coubrough, who is currently busy in the Emergency Operations Centre in Salmon Arm due to the Adams Lake Wildfire, offered his regrets for not being able to attend the presentation at the Nicholson Fire Department.
Also a fan of Vaile and his years of work is Electoral Area A Director Karen Cathcart.
“Parker was a strong leader with the Nicholson Fire Department, who worked tirelessly to engage his team and recruit new firefighters,” she said. “I wish him congratulations on his retirement and thank him for the years of service to our community.”