Former volunteer firefighter Bill Versluis on-the-job. Joe Heine photo.

“Big loss” for Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department

Bill Versluis retired after 16 years of service

Bill Versluis retired from the Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department after 16 years of service.

Fire Chief Doug Townsend said Versluis was known by everybody in the community for being tremendously helpful and that his leaving was “a big loss.”

“We all know just how much he meant to the department.”

In one year alone, Townsend said the man put in 2,200 volunteer hours. That’s essentially full-time work.

“He just kept us going,” said Townsend.

The department found out about Versluis’ decision only two months before his leaving, when he put his house up for sale. It was a quick move.

To recognize all of his hard work and contributions to the community, the fire department membership and spouses threw a potluck dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

“The best, that was the best,” said Versluis in a phone interview from Vernon.

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When asked what motivated him to work so hard for the fire department, Versluis responded as if it were no big deal at all.

“Well, all volunteer work is good and I figured I’d been a resident there, I should do my duties as a volunteer fireman, which I did.”

As for what made him want to help people in the community, he simply said, “I don’t know, it’s in my nature.”

He said it was a difficult decision to leave the fire department he’d worked in for the past 16 years and the community he’d resided in for 20.

“I had an excellent experience with the members.”

But the decision, ultimately, was the right one for his wife, Helen, and him.

“Well we’re getting on in age,” he said. “I’m 77-years-old and so we figured we’d move on to where there are more medical facilities. We figure we can still do it at our age, so we did it on our own instead of waiting for help.”

To the colleagues and friends he left behind, he simply said, “Keep on doing the good work.”

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Former volunteer firefighter Bill Versluis and his wife Helen at the potluck dinner thrown in his honour. Joe Heine photo.

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