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Firefighter Recognized for 50 years of Service

A firefighter who dedicated 50 years of service with the Williams Lake Fire Department received recognition last week from both the provincial and federal government.

Butch Rife says that his father was a fireman and that he wanted to be one after he got old enough as well.

“I just continued and I joined some other service clubs in town but I found that I just couldn’t spend the time with other clubs. We were on pretty well 24/7 hour call. There was good times and there were some bad times, but overall if I had to do it again I’d be the first in line.”

Rife who also announced his retirement with the Williams Lake Fire Department says that there are still lots of things to do and that he still goes hunting and fishing, and has a cabin at Quesnel Lake.

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He says although he was not looking to such a big deal he did enjoy the recognition.

Rife had received on Saturday a Certificate of Appreciation from Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett who also presented his wife with the Dogwood Pin which recognizes the spouses of longterm firefighters. He had also received two pins in recognition of both 40 and 50 years from Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty.

“I know another firefighter down in 100 Mile House was a volunteer for 40 years, but not 50 years,” says Barnett. “It’s a job that really and truly is a tough job. It’s a hard job and it’s one that is certainly appreciated by everybody.”

Chief of the Williams Lake Fire Department Des Webster says that Rife was very active up until his retirement following the awards.

“Twenty-five, thirty years in the fire service is a lot for some people so to get to 50 is just an amazing accomplishment,” says Webster.

“When he announced his retirement on Saturday it was not a huge shock to everybody, but definitely a big loss for us. He’s a big part of this group and not seeing his face around here anymore is going to be hard for a lot of people.”

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