Retired fire chief Dick Armitage

Retired fire chief Dick Armitage

Training room named for firefighter

He served the Sardis fire hall for decades.

Richard 'Dick' Armitage became a volunteer member of the Sardis fire hall in 1956 when it was located on Knight Road, and served as its brigade chief for years.

He served the Sardis fire hall for decades.

Richard ‘Dick’ Armitage became a volunteer member of the Sardis fire hall in 1956 when it was located on Knight Road, and served as its brigade chief for years.

Some of the current members of the fire hall approached the brass at the Chilliwack Fire Department, seeking a special way to mark his considerable contributions.

The training room at the Sardis fire hall was officially renamed the Dick Armitage room in his honour this week, confirmed Chilliwack Fire Chief Rick Ryall.

“It’s just a way of recognizing his incredible contribution and commitment to the fire department,” he said. “That’s a huge amount of time, and many of those years he served as brigade chief, and all in a volunteer capacity.”

Armitage, 81, a retired butcher, served the department for 36 years until 1992, as a volunteer firefighter and brigade chief. His butcher shop was located next door to the fire hall at one point.

“All of our volunteer and paid-on-call members make a huge commitment and are a huge part of the department,” he said.

Consequently, they were “more than happy” to follow through on the members’ recommendation and “make this happen,” Ryall said.

The honour and the room naming comes on the heels of the just released history book, Chilliwack Fire Department 1906 – 2006 The First 100, in which his services was chronicled as well.

“We were excited to learn they are naming a room after him at the Sardis fire hall,” said his wife, Evelyn Armitage. “Dick was blown away when he found out. It’s such an honour.”

A special presentation at the hall took place Monday night.

While Armitage was still in the department, his wife collected three scrapbooks worth of information and memorabilia to do with the activities of the firefighters, which she later donated for the book project.

“We are hoping some of that information made it into the new book,” she said.

Some of their other family members are also serving in the department, including their son-in-law, Barry Anderson, and their grandson, Brent Anderson. His dad was a dispatcher downtown.

“We think it’s pretty neat that there’s a family connection,” she said.

It’s not a coincidence that there is a history of service in the family, according to the fire chief.

“I think it speaks to not only how individually committed the person was, but also how the fire department was portrayed as something important to belong to,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an accident.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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