Firefighter served city for 45 years

Parksville's Rod Banks died this month after a 16-year battle with cancer

The City of Parksville lowered flags to honour 45-year fire department volunteer Deputy Chief Rod Banks last week.

Flags in Parksville were at half mast last week in honour of retired Deputy Chief Rod Banks, one of the longest serving workers in the city’s history.

“He wasn’t just a fire fighter, he coached little league ball and was involved in the community,” said fire chief Doug Banks of his father who lost his 16 year battle with cancer on June 8.

Rod’s father and uncle were two of the first volunteers when the Village of Parksville established the department in 1942 and Rod joined in 1953.

He was born in Burnaby but his family moved to Parksville while he was still a baby where he left school after Grade 8 and worked his way up the logging industry as a truck driver and equipment operator.

Meanwhile he spent 45 years as a volunteer fire fighter, including 22 as deputy chief under five different chiefs, including overlapping with his son Doug for a year.

“He offered to step down when I became chief in 1989,” Doug said, “but people talked him into staying and things worked really well.”

They created a special Station Officer position for him in 1990 which he held for the last eight years of his time with the department, lending his expertise wherever it was needed.

Doug said as far as he knows Rod probably holds the record for his 45 years with the city, though as a volunteer he wasn’t a city employee.

“He wasn’t a front and centre kind of guy, he just liked to help, he was just always there when someone needed something,” Doug summed up.

There was a celebration of life for Rod, who was 79 years old, Saturday at the Parksville Civic Centre.