Introducing the Brian Biddlecombe Memorial Award

By: Holly Graff

Last Saturday, I had the immense pleasure of making a small presentation to our volunteer firefighters and their families at the opening of the new Fire Hall.

Alongside the usual official remarks, from Fire Chief Aaron Hanen and Mayor Gary Ander, it might have seemed odd to have the Bowen Island Community Foundation on the speaker’s list.

But really, it’s not that random, because community foundations connect people and causes in order to benefit our community forever. Specifically, we raise and grow endowment funds – funds which are in place forever – that perpetually generate income that gets disbursed back into the community each and every year.

So at the Fire Hall opening, I was happy to announce the establishment of an endowment fund to directly benefit our own volunteer firefighters and their immediate families.

It’s in the form of an annual award to support their pursuit of academic study or vocational training.

It is for both the high school student children of our volunteers, and also for the adult volunteer firefighters themselves to be able to pursue education and training opportunities mid-career.

We have a generous donor who has contributed $100,000 to this fund so that it will generate $4,000 each and every year, in memory of local islander and former Fire Chief Brian Biddlecombe.

In addition to there being no age limit for applicants, what also makes this award unique is that the selection committee (which is to always include the current Fire Chief) will consider all relevant aspects of an applicant’s life, contribution to the community, extracurricular activities, and unique experience when making a selection.

Wherever possible, preference will be given to an applicant who is deserving of an opportunity in the eyes of the selection committee. This is not necessarily the most academically strong applicant.

The Biddlecombe Memorial Award is in recognition and gratitude to the commitment from our volunteer firefighters and their families. You all give so much to our community, and this is one way we can try and give back to you, and say “Thank You.”