Chilliwack Chiefs celebrate first responders with Matthew Hutchinson Memorial awards

Five locals will be recognized before Saturday night’s BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

The Chilliwack Chiefs will honour local first responders at Saturday night’s home game.

Before taking on the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Chilliwack Coliseum, the junior A club will present the Matthew Hutchinson Memorial Awards to five recipients.

The awards are named after a former Chief and volunteer fire fighter who died tragically in 2016.

Members of his family will help present the awards and all first responders will be given $5 admission for this special game.

Recipients were nominated by their peers for demonstrating excellence in their field and exceptional community service.

— Bill Higginbottom was a paid on-call firefighter with the Chilliwack Fire Department for 38 years. Now retired, Higginbottom has dedicated his life in service to the community. Presently an honorary member of Chilliwack FC, Bill coached minor soccer for 20 years and refereed for 30-plus years. He has also been a referee for Chilliwack Men’s Rec Soccer, an umpire for Chilliwack Minor Baseball, and has been an active member of the Masters Group at the Chilliwack Curling Club for 15 years.

— Fred Madden has been a correctional officer for over 25 years and currently works at the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre. Well respected by both the residents and his peers, Madden is viewed as a leader and a mentor.

— William Bailey has been a dedicated paramedic in Chilliwack since 1978. He has been teaching paramedicine for almost 30 years, both locally and internationally. Bailey has also taught years of fitness classes at the YMCA, where he demonstrates a passion for helping and encouraging people to be their best selves.

— Greg Unruh joined Chilliwack Search and Rescue in 1992. He has held many roles on the team, including SAR Manager, HETS (helicopter rescue) leader and he has also been a rope rescue instructor, helping to train SAR members from across the province. He has served 20 years on the team’s executive, and is now a Lifetime Member of Chilliwack SAR.

— Cpl. Valerie Conroy served as the Social Chronic Program Coordinator for the Chilliwack RCMP detachment from 2011 to 2019, leading and supporting efforts in the community to manage mental health and addiction related issues. In March of last year, Conroy was promoted and transferred to Langley.

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