Tom Poth and Ted Peters in front of the Jolly Miller Pub ahead of their annual Nov. 10 meeting. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Progress)

Tom Poth and Ted Peters in front of the Jolly Miller Pub ahead of their annual Nov. 10 meeting. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Progress)

Retired firefighters from CFB Chilliwack set for annual gathering

‘We’re sort of a brotherhood of firefighters,’ says event organizer

Every year a group of retired firefighters get together at a Chilliwack watering hole the night before Remembrance Day.

“We’re sort of a brotherhood of firefighters,” said Ted Peters, one of the retirees who’s organized the gatherings.

Former firefighters of the CFB Chilliwack Fire Hall have been hoisting a beer at the Jolly Miller Pub every year since before the closure of the firehall in 1998.

Last year was supposed to mark their 25th year, but they couldn’t gather in person due to COVID-19.

This year it’s all systems go, and they’re hoping for a turnout of at least 20 this week.

“We have been meeting here for the last 25 years, and always on Nov. 10,” said Peters.

Jolly Miller owner Poma Dhaliwal was made an honorary firefighter by the group, has always accommodated the annual get-together at his establishment.

Former CFB Fire Chief Tom Poth was the last fire chief to turn out the lights at the old firehall on Keith Wilson Road in 1998.

Some of the base firefighters went on to work at municipal fire halls in Vancouver or New Westminster, and elsewhere across Canada as the years wore on, which whittled down the numbers at the annual gatherings, but there’s still a core group that shows up every Nov. 10.

“We do seem to get a very good turnout of guys who are very happy to see each other,” Poth said. “We have lost a few along the way, and that’s life.”

So what do they talk about?

They always try to keep the discussions light, steering away from any dark topics. They tell jokes, and remember the pranks they played on each other.

“There’s a lot of good camaraderie. There’s no hard feelings. It’s just old friends getting together for a beer.”

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