Albert J. Reed was involved with the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District for almost 20 years, 18 years as an elected Trustee.
During this time Albert semi-retired from his life long career as an internationally respected electrical engineer, specializing in high voltage and power technologies, and returned to University to earn a master’s degree in fire protection and chemical engineering.
His thesis for that degree was based on ‘Fire Protection on Gabriola’ and was to establish a long term plan for our department to follow.
By following that plan our department was able to develop into an outstanding example of community fire protection, becoming the second volunteer fire department west of Ontario to earn the Superior Tanker Shuttle accreditation. This means we have the equivalent to fire hydrants on every corner, but with the firefighting water delivered to the scene by tankers.
This status saves our residents more money in insurance premiums than they pay in fire protection taxes.
Five (5) years later we re-certified, this time becoming the first volunteer fire department west of Ontario to earn our commercial property owners a similar insurance savings.
Even though these unprecedented accomplishments were directly tied to the guidance he provided, Albert was never one to take the credit. He was truly a big picture guy who always championed the team effort.
Albert certainly was a people person. Throughout his life he constantly encouraged discussions that lead to more diverse points of view, often changing peoples perspectives and attitudes. Whether it was during his career involvement with B.C. Hydro, Ontario Hydro, the National Research Council in Ottawa, the Boy Scouts, his church, our Fire Department, or any of the other causes he donated his life to, he would persevere with his hallmark kindness to ensure the best possible outcomes manifested for every situation he was involved with.
He was sincere in his fondness for people and his belief in humanity, and this was, no doubt, why he was so willing to involve himself in situations others might shy away from.
His dedication to our department and to the firefighters, was well known. Often when a call-out was in progress he would drop by the hall, turning off any car lights or flashers that the firefighters may have left on in their haste to respond. Just another small example of his caring and helpfulness.
Today’s re-dedication of this hall is with the hope of keeping Albert’s humanitarianism alive in our consciousness, to encourage others to see life with his “glass half full” perspective, and to be reminded of his boundless optimism – not just within the Fire Department but throughout his life. On behalf of the firefighters, trustees, as well as everyone who knew and loved him, I am truly honoured to rename this building the Albert J. Reed Memorial Firehall.