Sun Peaks mayor Al Raine presents fire chief Colin Cannon with his 20 years Exemplary Service Award. SPIN photo.

Sun Peaks Fire Rescue chief Colin Cannon is the latest recipient of an award from the Governor General. The fire service exemplary service medal in recognition of 20 years of loyal and exemplary service to public safety in Canada was first announced at the Firefighters’ Society gala in November but was officially awarded Dec. 18 at a municipal council meeting.

Cannon said he was surprised when his wife Maria and son James arrived at the meeting as he didn’t know the medal would be awarded.

“Honestly I didn’t see it coming last night,” he said. “It was a really nice surprise.”

Cannon joined the department as a volunteer months after moving to Sun Peaks in 1997 and volunteered for 10 years.

“Sun Peaks needed some bodies and I was a body.”

Eleven years ago he was hired as the fire prevention officer and three years ago he took over as chief from Bill Stoner.

“It was a little weird,” Cannon said of the path his career took.

He had considered a career in firefighting while in school but after seeing a woman die in a fire he was deeply affected. Instead he finished university, spent time living in Europe and lived in Whistler for 10 years before his move to Sun Peaks which sparked his firefighting work.

“It’s been a complete pleasure working and being a part of the fire department. The community is what I’ve always loved about this place. Helping and giving back is what community means…it’s a good feeling to help people. We’re here to serve the community.”

Reflecting on 21 years of service (the award application was submitted too late to be received last year) Cannon said said he was keen on seeing new faces in the hall.

“I can’t do this forever,” he said. “I’ve done 21 years already, we’re looking for new people to join us. I’d love to see a few new members join the department.”

Recruitment is open for anyone interested in joining until Jan. 15.