Vic­tor’s a Pitcher per­fect vol­un­teer

Win­ter­ton con­tin­ues to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Vic­tor Pitcher

The Compass - - VOLUNTEERING - BY TERRY ROBERTS ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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 66year-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 Vic­tor.

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

it very re­ward­ing,”

said

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.

Com­pass file photo by Terry Roberts

Vic­tor Pitcher is seen in his fire­fight­ing equip­ment in this Fe­bru­ary 2012 photo.

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