Mark Watson, left, proudly displays his 30-year volunteer service pin alongside his longtime mentor Bob Patterson. (Michael Briones photo)

Mark Watson, left, proudly displays his 30-year volunteer service pin alongside his longtime mentor Bob Patterson. (Michael Briones photo)

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

Mark Watson was 16 years old when he first visited the Qualicum Beach Fire Department.

He fell in love with the shiny red fire trucks, their blaring sirens and looked up to the firefighters that operated them.

Seeing Watson’s eagerness to be in the fire hall, Rick John and Bob Patterson, volunteer firefighters, decided to mentor the special young man. And with the fire chief’s blessings, made Watson a regular member of the department.

“He is always asking ‘what can I do?’” said Patterson. “He started helping out at the canteen and also with the cooking. Then the chief let him sweep the base and clean windows. He would come on practice nights. He is truly a hard worker.”

READ MORE: Beloved Parksville volunteer awarded key to the city

Watson’s love of the work he does at the fire hall has not wavered. He continues to come out every week to help keep the fire hall clean and do other chores he’s assigned to. He is now one of the longest-serving volunteers at QBFD, along with Patterson, who is still actively serving after 33 years, and Brian Hale, who has been volunteering for 30 years as well.

“I just love being there,” said Watson. “I have so many friends there and they’re all nice to hang around with.”

Patterson said they took Watson under their wings because he was a smart young man, full of questions and was easy to work with.

“We just said: ‘Why not? Come on in’,” said Patterson. “That’s what the fire department is sort of about. I mean we’re all volunteers. He truly is nice to have around. He gets along with people well.”

Fire chief Marc Norris commended Watson’s dedication and considers him to be a shining example for others to follow.

“He is awesome,” said Norris. “He’s great friend and teammate at the Qualicum Beach Fire Department. He is very committed to what he’s doing there. He helps out whenever he can.”

Watson’s selfless devotion to help out over years has been recognized by the Town of Qualicum Beach in the past. To honour Watson dedication, the QBFD has an annual award named after him. It’s called the Mark Watson Spirit Award.

“He has such a good spirit in everything that he does,” Norris said. “He is a fantastic guy and a great example of the community living program that we have here in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and how they were able to integrate people who maybe would normally not have this opportunity. He is not a frontline firefighter, but we can include him in almost anything else that we do. It’s good for everybody.”

Watson was recently presented a 30-year volunteer service pin that now hangs proudly on the fire department’s wall of honour.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

qualicum beachVolunteer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Longtime Nanoose Bay farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read