It is with great sadness that I type up my editorial this week. The news that Golden has lost another of its citizens at far too young an age has hit the community once again.
Golden’s Fire Chief Ken McClure passed away on Saturday. I am very grateful for his service to the community, and am heartbroken to hear of his passing.
I had the pleasure of building a working relationship with the Chief during my three years at The Golden Star. He was always very passionate about his work and the department, and willing to keep the paper and the community informed.
Over the years there have been countless fire, medical, and road rescue calls that the Chief and the department have responded to, but there is one in particular that stands out in my mind.
An 11-year-old girl named Macy was travelling on Highway 1 in late November, 2012, with her grandmother in a moving van. Her mother was following behind in her car.
The van was involved in a collision with a semi tractor trailer, and Macy was trapped in the vehicle down an embankment with the semi teetering at the top, engulfed in flames.
The Golden Fire Department, BC Ambulance and Golden RCMP worked together to get her out safely, although she sustained some severe injuries.
She recovered at her new home in Saskatchewan, but never forgot the people who helped save her life.
A few months later a thank-you letter came in the mail, and I have never seen anyone so touched and humbled.
As Ken was telling me the story of how strong and inspirational young Macy was, and how honoured he was to be thanked like that, he got quite emotional.
“It’s a cool feeling, and I can say for the RCMP, ambulance, and the fire department, it’s so nice to get that once in a while. It’s very rare,” he told me.
I interviewed Ken when the department started a road rescue pilot project with the Province, when he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award, and when his department put out residential and commercial fires.
But I never saw him as proud as when he received that thank you.
The community and the department has suffered a great loss, and his shoes will not be easily filled.