Six Sooke firefighters travelled to Panama to teach skills to Panamanian colleagues.

Firefighters return home from Panama

Volunteer firefighters from Sooke teach Panamanian colleagues

The group that went to Panama is back in Sooke and still ecstatic about how the Training Mission went.

They are all very grateful to have had the opportunity to share our skills and abilities with so many firefighters from Chiriqui Province in Panama.

It was a tremendous experience, one that won’t soon be forgotten. The firefighters in Panama were no different than any firefighters I have ever met before. Their number one objective is to help their community and make a positive difference.

Our first time meeting on April 1 was a bit nerve wracking, but we quickly realized that firefighters are all the same, no matter where you are. We were able to joke around, have fun, but be serious and train hard for the week.

The firefighters in Boquete, Panama face several similar challenges that we face in Sooke.  The communities are comparable in size, they have areas with limited water supply, limited manpower, and a busy, dangerous road into town.

We are very appreciative of the support we have received from our fellow firefighters here in Sooke, our families, and the community. In total, we spent over 700 volunteer hours planning, preparing, training, and delivering training for this project to succeed. We would very much like to have new faces from Sooke Fire Rescue participate in this wonderful and fulfilling experience in 2015, which is when we intend to return to Panama and build on the projects successes.

I have attached a photo of the six of us (Rod Davis, Darcy Abell, Paul Rudd, John Hester, Ben Temple, Cam Norris-Jones) and the majority of class participants posing with the Sooke News Mirror. Thank you for the support you have shown our project, it has been greatly appreciated.

Cam Norris-Jones

Fire Fighter

Sooke Fire Rescue Service