Jim Tweedhope says his goal when he first joined the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department in 1989 was not to become the boss.
“There was never any thought about it, but it actually ending up happening,” he said in an interview with the News Review.
Tweedhope ends his 25-year firefighting career officially on Friday. He will be replaced by 17-year department veteran Brett Mikkelsen, the Deputy Chief for the last few years, on Nov. 3.
The outgoing Chief recalls how he got involved with the Sidney department all those years ago. It was a neighbour, he said, that invited him to join.
“He was a member of the department and he coerced me into going,” Tweedhope joked. “I met a few people who were also members and once I got there, the bug started to set in.”
He said he was hooked on the work — an opportunity to help the community and perform some exciting duties along the way.
“A common thread is that the department is a diverse group of people,” he said, noting that when he joined, he was working in construction.
A full-time job came up with the Town of Sidney and he took it. That allowed Tweedhope to stay in town and to have the workplace support to be able to respond to emergency calls.
In 1997, Tweedhope jumped at another opportunity, this time within the fire department itself. He went from the volunteer ranks to a full-time position as a fire prevention officer. By then, he had been made a captain. He said he held the prevention officer’s job until he was promoted to Assistant Chief.