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Image of two young men in firefighter uniforms standing in front of a Kimberely Fire Dept. fire truck.

Chuck Showdra and Will Booth met as students in College of the Rockies’ Fire Services training program.  Now they are both full-time firefighters with the Kimberley Fire Department.

Chuck had always wanted to be a firefighter but he initially completed his Red Seal training in the Plumbing trade and became a class B gas fitter before finally enrolling in the Fire Services program.

“I enjoyed working in the trades and had done quite well in the company I was working for, but I wanted to do something that would have more of an impact on my community and on the lives of the people in it,” he says.

With that in mind, Chuck began researching institutions that provided the training he needed to become a firefighter. His search kept bringing him back to College of the Rockies. “I liked the idea of face-to-face learning and not having to do an online portion of the program on my own,” he says. “Another big factor for me was that the College offered the highest number of courses that the fire departments I was interested in working with were looking for.”

Will, who grew up in Ontario, had developed an interest in the Fire Service Industry around the end of high school. “The idea of every call being different and helping someone when they truly needed it really drew me to the profession,” he says.

Having lived in Lake Louise for 7 years, he knew he wanted to stay living in the mountains so looked for a Fire Services program in Western Canada. “After exploring the costs of programs versus the certifications that you could earn, and looking at reviews of various programs, I came to the conclusion that I would apply to College of the Rockies,” he adds.

After graduating from the Fire Services program in 2016, Chuck and Will both became paid, on-call members of the Kimberley Fire department.  Through hard work and determination, they were awarded full-time firefighter positions in the summer of 2017. 

“Both of us worked very hard to earn these positions, making ourselves available and jumping on any opportunity to help and gain experience,” Will notes.

“Becoming a full-time firefighter with the Kimberley Fire Department is truly a dream come true,” Chuck adds. “With the new position there is a lot more responsibility and learning. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of learning with such a proactive department.”

Will agrees. “When I started the program I never thought I would end up in Kimberley as a full-time firefighter. The ongoing support from the College and instructors has proven to be a very valuable resource and I credit them for a lot of my recent success,” he says. “I’m grateful for the education I received from the College and pride myself on being a lifelong student.”

Learn more about College of the Rockies Fire Services Training.

PHOTO: Will Booth (left) and Chuck Showdra (right)