Firefighters in the Alberni Valley will celebrate the life of a fallen member with an honour guard on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Carla Kulczycki was a firefighter with Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department until she died of brain cancer on Jan. 2. Roger Street in Port Alberni will be closed from Sixth Avenue to 10th Avenue from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Jan. 13 to accommodate the honour guard, prior to a celebration of life for Kulczycki.
Sproat Lake FD will have one of its firetrucks and its vintage Willy’s Jeep at the front of the procession, followed by an honour guard comprised of uniformed members of first responder agencies on foot. The celebration of life for Kulczycki will start at 1 p.m. at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Roger Street.
“Carla was a member of the Sproat Lake Fire Dept. since 2002. She was an outstanding member who caught on quickly to everything and wasn’t afraid to ask questions about what she didn’t understand,” SLVFD Chief Mike Cann said.
“She was one of the hardest working firefighters we’ve ever had in both operations and the social activities of our department. She loved to take the lead role in organizing social events, and would often provide wing nights, oysters or appies after fire practice.
“She was a strong mentor to all our new members, never hesitating to make use of a teachable moment,” Cann added.
Kulczycki was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in August 2017. This type of cancer is considered a work-related disease for firefighters, Cann explained; thus the decision to hold a line of duty service in Kulczycki’s honour.
“She was a firefighter right until her passing. Carla absolutely loved being a first responder, and had her pager beside her, listening to every call until her very last day.”
Kulczycki is survived by her parents Gerald and Elizabeth Geislinger, her siblings, her children Kayla Kulczycki (Tyler), Krista Semchuk (Lance), and Keanna Sept, her grandchildren Tyson and Aubrey, as well as family friends Dean Sept, Sherrill Taylor and Lorraine Lebel.
The 1 p.m. service at the Alberni Athletic Hall is open to the public. During the road closure a detour will be available on Wallace Street via Sixth Avenue.
Kulczycki’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, guests consider bringing a non-perishable food item for donation to Ty Watson House, or to donate to Alberni Valley Hospice Society, 3088 Third Ave., Port Alberni, B.C.