Extraordinary volunteers: Chuck and Colleen Minten

The Sooke News Mirror is highlighting some of Sooke's amazing volunteers

Chuck Minten

Within weeks of moving to the Shirley Community, Chuck Minten became a member of the Shirley Community Association. He and his wife Colleen moved onto her family farm in 1977. Colleen’s grandmother took him to the meeting and he left as president, taking over from Colleen’s dad (Charles Cross). Colleen states she came from a long line of volunteers and when they took over the farm it was natural that they take on looking after the community as well. Chuck has been on the Shirley Community Association since that day in 1977.

In 1987, Chuck was instrumental in establishing the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department. For the first two years they had no fire hall. In 1989, Chuck, as president of the Shirley Community Association, chair of the Shirley Fire Society and volunteer firefighter, suggested the association build a fire hall attached to the original hall, and rent it to them for $1 per year. The rent is now a lot more but the relationship continues to exist.

Chuck was chair of the fire society for 11 years, a volunteer firefighter for 21 years, for six years he taught first response and Power Squadron boating safety. In his 21 years as a firefighter Chuck held every position from lieutenant, to captain to assistant fire chief.

In the past 23 years, Chuck was also part of Search and Rescue for four years (but continued to help with searches in East Sooke after leaving the organization); Chair of the Sooke Advisory Committee for two years; sat on the Juan De Fuca Economic Development Commission; the Shirley Education and Action Committee; and helped with the Sooke Incorporation Study. He continues to be on the Provincial Emergency Program and judges at the Sooke Fall Fair

Being active members of a small community means wearing many hats all the same time, Chuck did all this while running an active farm and building homes in the community… their own still being under construction due to the amount of time Chuck dedicates to making his community a great place to live.

Of course Chuck could not do all this without the support of Colleen, who was at his side in many of the endeavours. Colleen is always there to make community members and visitors feel welcome. You will see her at every event, wandering around talking to people of having conversations with anyone wanting to purchase food from the concession. Colleen’s family helped build this community and she and Chuck continue to be the first to be called when something needs to be done or some history is wanted.

When asked why they do so much they say, ”we volunteer to make our community a place we want to live…it is what one does.”

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Shirley Fire Department and the 75th Anniversary of Shirley Community Hall.