Honeymoon Bay fire chief Ray Wear celebrated 40 years with the department back in June 2021 but COVID protocols prevented the presentation of his 40-year service bar until recently. It is with the same patience he had that the Gazette waited for the busy chief’s reaction to his recent service bar ceremony and celebration. Now we’ve got it: the night was fabulous, said the chief.
“Fire Service Coordinator Robb Schoular along with the membership threw a good one! Kathy Ferguson from the Office of the fire commissioner was there along with fire officers and firefighters from all over the district.”
Wear said he was asked to join the department and began on June 1, 1981 and much has changed since then.
“At that time Honeymoon Bay was a mill town, Western Forrest Industries, and the department only protected their holdings and you also needed to work for the company to become a firefighter, which I did,” he explained. “Unknown to us, the company would shut down their operations that October.”
Wear said the company kept the department in operation until an Improvement District was formed to oversee the water, street lights and fire department in Honeymoon Bay.
“Land was donated for a new hall and we finished its construction October 1987,” Wear said.
Reflecting on his four decades of service, Wear said, “I think one of the best things is my getting to meet hundreds and hundreds of like minded people…here to serve their village, community, or town.
“It is where we live and raise our family and to give a little to help protect that is rewarding for me. In my time with the department we have had over 150 members join and leave the department. That is a huge turnover for such a small department. The officers and firefighters I have in the hall now and the preservation of the history of Honeymoon Bay Fire is the main reason I’m still here. Plus I still enjoy it.”
It’s the people that matter most, he admitted.
“The biggest thing in all of this is family. I could not do this if it wasn’t for my wife and daughter giving up for me; holidays, dinners, practice night, training, weekend duty, all of it. My time is their time also,” Wear said. “And the fire hall family. I couldn’t do it with out them also. Its been great to watch some of the members join as kids and now have kids of their own.”