Hundreds of fire fighters and first responders from around British Columbia marched in honour of Colwood fire chief John Cassidy on Saturday.
After 30 years of service, 22 of which he served in Colwood, John Cassidy died of a heart attack while on duty at the fire hall.
Paramedics and his own crews responded to the call but were unable to save him.
With heavy hearts, friends, family and colleagues spoke highly about his service and accomplishments.
“He was a true leader over the years,” said Russel Cameron, retired Colwood fire chief. “I mentored him for many years and this is what John wanted to be, he wanted to be a fire chief.”
“John was incredibly important, not only to the city but also to the community,” said Colwood mayor, Rob Martin. “The fire chief was really instrumental in supporting the mutual aid agreements we have here in the West Shore.
They also spoke about his commitment and involvement in the community.
“Chief Cassidy would go into the schools and talk to the children and what was really important was it wasn’t just teaching them about fire, it was also making sure they weren’t scared when a member with all their equipment and uniforms comes in an emergency,” said Mitzi Dean, Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA.
Members, grateful to have known him and honouring him today as not just a colleague, but a friend.
“It’s about recognizing a person that served his community,” said Russel Cameron. “Not only was he a great father and husband, and part of the service today is making sure the family knows how truly wonderful of a man he was.”
“There’s nothing more important than eulogizing a friend and speaking about his accomplishments,” said View Royal fire chief, Paul Hurst. “It is something I’m honoured to do.”
The Colwood Fire Department continues to serve the community under the leadership of acting chief, Greg Chow.
John Cassidy was 54-years-old and leaves behind his wife and two children.
READ MORE: Colwood grieves sudden passing of Fire Chief John Cassidy