© Herald file photo
Prince Albert Fire Department Chief Les Karpluk announced his retirement on Friday.
Announcing his sudden retirement on Friday, Prince Albert Fire Department Chief Les Karpluk said that his first duty as a retired person will be finding relaxation.
âThe timing was right and Iâm so grateful, so proud of the department -- just shy of 32 years, man, serving the public -- thatâs pretty awesome,â he said. âThatâs like living the dream.â
âHeâs a great chief to serve under, and definitely he had a passion for the fire service -- and still does -- and did incredible things for our service and moved it forward during his eight years as chief, and we hope to keep that momentum going,â Deputy Chief Jason Everitt said.
âHeâs moved forward a lot with leadership programming within the department -- advancing the professional designation within the department of the firefighters.
âIt was basically under his direction that we focus on a lot of our education and training on the needs in the fire service, and the ever-changing needs of the service.â
Emergency planning and preparedness and relationships with various levels of government improved under Karplukâs direction, Everitt said.
âItâs been a pleasure working with him, and Iâm sure heâs going to be around and we wonât be seeing the last of him, so weâre looking forward to working with him going forward, as well, as a resource,â he said.
âItâs been a great run and weâre looking to keep things moving, but certainly itâs a void that weâre going to feel.â
Mayor Greg Dionne said that Karpluk joins Community Services Director Jody Boulet in setting good examples for civic employees.
âLes started as a firefighter and ended his career as chief, so it just shows that in the corporation of Prince Albert thereâs room to grow and to move, and I certainly want to congratulate Les Karpluk and his family on his retirement.â
Boulet was promoted to his current position earlier this week, after 15 years of working from the bottom up.
City manager Jim Toye said that the search for a new chief will not be immediate.
âWeâll probably take our time to look at the work chart over there to see what exactly we need as personnel,â he said.
âAny time these things happen we always look at the organization to see -- if that worked for the last 10 years, is that still appropriate at this particular time?â
Toye said that one of the departmentâs two deputy chiefs will be named acting chief in the near future.
Although theyâre down a chief, Everitt said that the public wonât notice any change.
âService to the community and citizens wonât be affected, and itâs businesses as usual with the fire department,â he said.
âWeâve got a great management team down there, and overall a great team of men and women at the fire hall and weâre all focused on serving the citizens of Prince Albert and the community, and that hasnât changed.â
Karpluk said that he plans on staying in Prince Albert and that heâs happy with his decision to retire at this time.
âI end my career with the City and the Fire Department with fond memories and a deep sense of gratitude.â
Karpluk was named acting fire chief in June, 2005, after Prince Albert Fire Chief Brian Shand announced his retirement. Shand served in emergency services for 33 years, the last 12 of which with the Prince Albert Fire Department.
By February 2006, Karpluk took over the chief position on a permanent basis
"Prince Albert is a great place to raise a family, and being born and raised in Prince Albert, this is a great honour to me and my family,â Karpluk said at the time.
"Being selected the new chief makes me feel like I just won the Memorial Cup.â