Shuswap Emergency Program honours memory of longtime volunteer

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Shuswap Emergency Program is remembering one of its most tireless volunteers, Ron Essex.

A teacher by trade, Essex was a very dedicated Emergency Support Services volunteer, dating back to the Salmon Arm/Silver Creek Wildfire of 1998. He continued to assist through the formation of the Shuswap Emergency Program and, despite his illness, attended his last volunteer meeting just over a week ago.

“Ron always had this, ‘I’m here, what can I do to help?’ attitude. You would give him a task and you knew he would get it done,” says Cathy Semchuk, Emergency Program Facilitator.

“I think what I will miss most is working in a Reception Centre, Ron had this quiet demeanour. He was a calming person, and he always brought the stress level down in the room.”

For his commitment and dedication, Essex was honoured in 2017 with the Emergency Management BC’s Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Award for lifetime achievement.

Essex was dedicated and willing to step in on a moment’s notice to fill any role in an emergency, although he particularly enjoyed his associations with Shuswap Amateur Radio Club, working in logistics and documenting everything in photos. A self-described pencil-pusher, Essex was always the team member who could be counted on to get paperwork done ­− and done right.

He kept a journal and captured many of his emergency volunteer efforts on paper, including a remarkable record of the 1998 Salmon Arm/Silver Creek Wildfire.

The Shuswap Emergency Program wishes to extend our condolences to Essex’s family, friends and fellow volunteers. He will be missed.

Photo:  Ron Essex, right, volunteered countless hours training, exercising and during activations of Emergency Operations Centres and Reception Centres. Here, he was participating in a Emergency Support Services exercise. (SEP photo)

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