Public education officer Gary Proznick, aboard Township of Langley Firefighters’ Charities engine 4550, driven by TLFD fire prevention officer Ken Strand during Proznick’s walk-out ceremony held Oct. 30. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Fire education officer hangs up his helmet

Cptn. Gary Proznick retired after a dozen years of teaching safety to kids in Langley

by Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times

Cptn. Gary Proznick recently marked his last day leading the charge toward total fire safety in the Township of Langley.

And it’s not much of an exaggeration to say a large percentage of people living in the Langleys – from elementary school kids, to their parents, to business owners and seniors – identifies fire safety with Proznick.

The Township of Langley fire department’s public education officer hung up his helmet after 12 years of fire safety talks, firehall tours, and bringing the fire safety house to schools at the end of last month.

“What I’m going to miss most is the people; my coworkers and the groups of children we work with in the schools,” he said.

RELATED: Captain retires after 29 years of service in Langley

“The little ones were always so excited to see the fire engine, they’d crawl out of their skin when they got to the firehall.”

Proznick began his time with the fire department in January 2003 as a paid-on-call member of Hall #7 in Otter, and retired from the hall in 2013 as a lieutenant and honourary member.

In 2008 he came to the professional fire service as a public fire and life safety educator after a 23-year teaching career that left a trail of well-educated young minds at schools in Langley, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Vancouver.

He earned his stripes as the fire department’s public education officer the next year.

Proznick’s colleague, the department’s cudrrent public fire and life safety educator, Krista Barton, says they have calculated that the two engaged more than 150,000 community members since they started working together in September 2009.

Barton insists she’s learned a lot working with Proznick.

“I want to carry on what he’s set out, moving forward with his legacy and how he is able to interact with everyone,” she said.

“It has been amazing to watch. He can interact with a three-year-old, and then move right on to a 103-year-old, and always make fire safety seem fun, but important.

“His knowledge, guidance and leadership pushed me to be a better educator.”

During the course of his career, Proznick said he particularly enjoyed arriving at a school with the fire safety house in tow, and seeing how excited the kids were.

“For every valuable fire safety lesson you provide,” he shared, “you will potentially be saving someone’s life.”

RELATED: Tips for a safe Halloween

In 2018, the Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of B.C. named Proznick the public educator of the year for outstanding achievement and dedication in public fire and life safety education.

Oct. 30 was his last shift and a traditional walk-out ceremony was held at the Murrayville firehall to wish him well as he begins the next chapter.

At the ceremony, Township chief Stephen Gamble spoke and read salutations from Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, and IAFF Local 4550 president Andy Hewitson spoke of his high regard for Proznick and the importance of fire safety programming in the community.

Proznick says he is looking forward to relaxing at his cabin on Lake Canim, near 100 Mile House, and exploring British Columbia with his wife, Jay.

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

firefightersLangley

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

 

Public education officer Gary Proznick in his walk-out ceremony on Oct. 30. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Public education officer Gary Proznick answered a retirement tribute from fire dispatch during his walk-out ceremony at the Murrayville firehall on Oct. 30. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Gary Proznick in 2012 spoke at the Township of Langley fire department's Safety Stars event. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Public education officer Gary Proznick answered a retirement tribute from fire dispatch during his walk-out ceremony at the Murrayville firehall on Oct. 30. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Retiring public education officer Gary Proznick. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

An RCMP officer got more than bargained for when stopping a vehicle with a broken brake light. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley RCMP puts the brakes on pair found with drugs, knife and cash

The passenger was wanted on a warrant, and the driver faces various changes.

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days and announced that he has been found

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Painful Truth: Which party breaks up first?

Political parties under pressure can fracture, here and abroad

Small and local shops are vulnerable to the second wave of the coronavirus. (Langley Advance Times files)
Our View: Save jobs, shop local in Langley

The fight to preserve local businesses and employment is underway now

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Abbotsford mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby comes home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Most Read