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Village of Telkwa welcomes new chief, deputy chief

The Telkwa Volunteer Fire Department has a new chief, Randy Cunningham and a new deputy chief, Stuart McKinnon.
Village of Telkwa mayor Carman Graf (middle) welcomes Stuart McKinnon (left) and Randy Cunningham (right) to their new positions as deputy chief and chief of the Telkwa Volunteer Fire Department.

The Telkwa Volunteer Fire Department has two new faces at the helm, sort of.

Randy Cunningham is the new fire chief with the TVFD.

Cunningham, 56, with almost 20 years of experience with the TVFD, steps up from his deputy fire chief position to take the lead of the TVFD.

“Everyone left the room except for me,” Cunningham said with a chuckle to explain how he got the nod as the new fire chief.

On a serious note, Cunningham said his years of experience will serve him well as the new fire chief, especially considering most of the TVFD firefighters have about six years’ experience.

Filling the deputy chief position is Stuart McKinnon.

McKinnon, a seven-year veteran with the TVFD, said he felt a sense of duty to step up and take on the position of deputy chief.

“Somebody had to step forward,” McKinnon, who works at the Bulkley Valley Home Centre in Telkwa, said.

“It’s not that I wanted the job, but it’s necessary.

“As one of the key players on the team I felt it was my turn to step forward.”

Both Cunningham and McKinnon said their biggest challenge is not the day-to-day operations of the TVFD, but rather the recruitment of new volunteers to the TVFD.

The TVFD currently has 18 volunteer firefighters and Cunningham would like to see another handful of volunteers join their ranks.

“These days, recruiting volunteers for any organization, is a big challenge,” Cunningham said.

“If you don’t recruit, you end up without a fire department,” McKinnon said.

The key, McKinnon said, is to get volunteers through the door, to take the step into the unknown.

“Once they’re through the door they really enjoy it,” McKinnon said.

Although he is looking forward to the challenge, Cunningham, like former TVFD Chief, Corey Kortmeyer, said his main concern is making the wrong decision.

However, Cunningham said, he knows he is surrounded by a great group of volunteer firefighters

“When you do make a wrong decision, hopefully