Victor's a Pitcher perfect volunteer in Winterton

Terry Roberts
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Longtime firefighter, ambulance attendant is well appreciated for his record of service

Victor Pitcher remembers standing amongst a group of onlookers as volunteer firefighters in Winterton saved the home of Walter and Ethel Piercey from total destruction.

Victor Pitcher and his wife Wyanne of Winterton.

Victor Pitcher remembers standing amongst a group of onlookers as volunteer firefighters in Winterton saved the home of Walter and Ethel Piercey from total destruction.

It was 41 years ago this past spring, and a month later, inspired by what he had witnessed, Victor filled out an application and joined the brigade.

A year later, after the town successfully lobbied the province to help establish an ambulance service in the town, Victor again stepped forward as a volunteer.

Fast-forward to 2013 and the 66-year-old is still going strong with both, though the ambulance service has now matured into a paid operation that employs four full-time emergency medical responders (EMR) and a part-time paramedic. Victor is also a fully trained EMR, and fills in on occasion to relieve the full-timers.

"I just like to be helpful," Victor, a soft-spoken man, replied when asked why he continues to serve his community in such important roles.

Worthy of appreciation

His long and noteworthy service to the town and its citizens has not gone unnoticed in recent months. Victor has received plaques and certificates of appreciation from all levels of government, and only a handful of others throughout the province can boast such an impressive record of service.

Most recently, Victor and his wife, Wyanne, were guests of honour at an appreciation dinner hosted by the ambulance service on Nov. 16.

He's often asked how much more he has to give, with the prevailing sentiment that he's already contributed more than his fair share. But there's no indication he's ready to slow down.

"As long as I can keep going," he told The Compass during a phone interview on Wednesday, Dec. 4. "I can't do as much as I used to, but I can still can do some."

During his long service to the fire department and the ambulance service, Victor has seen and experienced plenty of loss and suffering, but also his fair share of survival and close calls.

He's attended scenes where the very young have died, and also returned home filled with pride and satisfaction after bringing much-needed aid to a patient or family.

It's not something that everyone can do, but Victor's work experience helped lay the foundation for his selfless service. At age 17, he began training as a nursing assistant at the General Hospital in St. John's. His first assignment? The emergency department. He hadn't completed so much as a first-aid course.

Back to this roots

After nearly eight years in the capital city, Victor moved back to Winterton, and began a working career at a long-term care home in Carbonear.

The chief of the Winterton fire brigade at the time was Jehu Green. Jehu was the first of eight chiefs that Victor would serve with. Speaking from memory, Victor said the others were Frank Andrews, Don Burt, John Pinhorn, Paul Martin, Craig Norris and Harold Harnum.

The current chief is Darrell Reid, who recently described Victor as a "true asset" to the department.

"He still attends every meeting and call, and I look to him for advice from time-to-time. He can always be counted on for whatever needs to done," said Chief Reid.

And on four different occasions over the past four decades, Victor wore the chief's hat. He now holds the post of secretary on the executive.

“I find it very rewarding,” said Victor.

He said volunteering for emergency services is not only about helping the community, but also his own loved ones.

And besides, if there was no fire department or ambulance service, he said Winterton would be less of a community.

“It would all fall by the wayside,” he said.

Victor and Wyanne have three children — son Stanley and daughters Stephanie and Sandra. They also have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

editor@cbncompass.ca

Geographic location: Winterton

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  • Ronald James Anthony Pitcher
    March 09, 2014 - 12:34

    This is my grandfather, i never knew this article existed till now and reading it shows me that he's not just important to me, he's important to everybody in Winterton, he's my family hero besides my dad and i look up to this man. Thank you for making a very great man look even greater.