A love of learning and a desire to give to local community create a winning combination for three Ashram residents. Chuck McNab, Dan Seguin and Molly Askey-Goldsbury volunteer for the Riondel Volunteer Fire Department and talk about the many benefits of their experience.
Chuck joined the crew 18 months ago to complement his role as captain of the Ashram’s internal fire team. “It’s fantastic in terms of giving back to the community and receiving. I’m getting professional guidance and all of this training, and I get to practice with very experienced people. I’m gaining practical experience as well as learning from books. With fire, we never know what to expect. I prepare for the worst through our weekly practices but hope for the best.”
Molly – the Ashram’s garden manager – joined more recently. “In the Fire Department there is a clear hierarchy and structure – a very different way of communicating than at the Ashram. To be part of the team you follow orders and that’s good practice. In this situation I change from being a leader to being very much led. And although I’m called a volunteer fire fighter, what I’ve experienced is that we’re learning how to reduce risk, protect life and navigate fire, which is so very powerful.”
Dan has been serving over the past four years and has become the Assistant Fire Chief and Training Officer in addition to being a first responder and a fire fighter. He’s still known as “the Ashram guy.”
“I put in a lot of hours a week and to me it’s being able to step in and help our neighbours. All three of us Ashram volunteers are active learners and to learn is what the Ashram also offers. We are hard workers, giving 100 per cent when we are there. If there is work to be done, Chuck is one of the first ones up. I think that our being there elevates the entire group. And we enjoy the camaraderie and level of community that happens in the Fire Department.
“I tip my hat to Chief Cory Medhurst for being welcoming and open to involving some longer-term people from the Ashram. It works great on both sides.”