Pat Shirley

Bench to honour Salmon Arm firefighters, firefighting family

Shirley family bitten by the fire-fighting bug for more than 100 years

Salmon Arm firefighters in general and one unique firefighter in particular will be honoured with a bench to be placed in Hall No. 3, the city’s downtown fire hall.

Jim Shirley recently wrote to city council, explaining his family would like to honour their late father Pat Shirley who spent more than 40 years with the Salmon Arm Fire Department.

The family has purchased a granite bench which they asked to install in the southeast corner of the fire hall. The letter said the family would provide a concrete base and has met with Darin Gerow, the city’s manager of roads and parks.

“Although there is currently a bench in close proximity to the requested location, Mr. Gerow indicates his staff could easily remove and relocate it to another location in town.”

The bench will have the Salmon Arm Fire Department emblem on the end sections and ‘In memory of Chief Officer Pat Shirley’ on the back.

Asked about his family’s fire department history, current chief Brad Shirley explains that his grandfather, his dad’s dad George, was one of the charter members of the Salmon Arm Fire Department. In fact, he was recording secretary for its first meeting on Dec. 13, 1913.

In the minutes of that first meeting, firefighters were being paid $1 per call and a fire bell was to be purchased to notify members when there was a fire.

“When Dad was overseas, his dad passed away so when he came back he joined the fire department,” says Brad of his father Pat.

Brad’s brother Jim has been a firefighter for more than 40 years and his brother Greg, now retired, was with the department for 20 years. Brad has been on the fire department for 37 years, nearly 12 years as chief.

Why the family commitment to the fire department?

Read more: Salmon Arm Fire Department adding all-terrain vehicles to fleet

Read more: Okanagan fire department rescues kittens

Read more: Salmon Arm firefighters on thin ice in rescue exercise

Brad laughs and says a psychologist would be needed to figure that one out.

“I don’t know, it’s just something my dad had a huge passion for. Myself, as a kid, I loved hanging out with him at the fire station when I could. When you start getting a little older and start thinking about a career, there was no question what I wanted to do.”

His brothers, too, share a passion for it.

City council endorsed the installation of the memorial bench.

“I think we all know the value the Shirley family has brought to our firefighting community,” Coun. Chad Eliason said.

Coun. Kevin Flynn added his support.

“It’s not just about the Shirley family, but firefighters asking for support for someone who led them. It shows how much we value our volunteers.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Specifications for a memorial bench from Heartwood Manufacturing Ltd. to be placed at Fire Hall #3 in memory of longtime firefighter Pat Shirley. (Image contributed)

Pat Shirley on the right with Marv Wilson on the left, circa 1930. (Photo courtesy of Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village)

Just Posted

In photos and video: Snow collapses cat shelter at Shuswap SPCA

Organization says no cats were injured, help wanted to rebuild

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Chinese New Year brings subdued celebrations in Salmon Arm

Local family to mark the start of the New Year but will be missing family in China

Habitat for Humanity helps Sepwepemc families build houses near Chase

Homes intended for current families and generations to come

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Dirt Road Opera to serenade audience with upcoming Sorrento show

Cod Gone Wild fiddler Susan Aylard hosts January concert at Maples Waterfront Resort

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Most Read