Retirees mark decades of service with Sidney ambulance

Carson Hamber and Len Harmon given a ceremonial send-off by their peers in Sidney.

  • Dec. 11, 2014 1:00 p.m.

Len Harmon

On Sunday, November 30 Len Harmon and Carson Hamber, two long-serving members of the Sidney Ambulance Service, were pleasantly surprised by an informal honour guard and a subsequent celebration held at the Sidney Ambulance Station.

The pair were met by the honour guard made up of their peers within the Sidney Ambulance Service as well as representatives from North and Central Saanich, Sidney Fire Department, RCMP, and the Victoria Paramedics. The men and women of those services lined the sidewalks from Third Street and Beacon Avenue in Sidney, all the way down to the ambulance station — all there to celebrate the pair’s retirement and express gratitude for their exemplary service to the community.

“It was really something,” said Hamber. “They just came and got me in Victoria and brought me out to Sidney … I had no idea that this was happening.”

Hamber had served as the Unit Chief of the Sidney Ambulance Service and Harmon had been a paramedic.  The two men, who together account for more than 75 years of service, both retired as of November 30 and expressed their sincere gratitude for the event.

“It just blew me away,” said Harmon. “It was so humbling to have these people come out and say thanks. These are people who have always been there for me, and I respect them more than you can imagine.”

Their experience will be difficult to match. For example, when Hamber started work in July of 1974 things were a little less sophisticated than they are today.

“It was basically a ‘scoop and run’ affair,” said Hamber. “We had a big old Cadillac and an econoline van and there really wasn’t much we could do in the back of either of those.

“Still, we made it work.”

Both men acknowledged that it will be the people who they met on the job that they’ll miss the most.

“I’ve seen it all during my time on the job … so many great people,” said Harmon. “I’ve delivered babies and I’ve been there during illness and death … but through it all it’s all those great people who made the job a wonderful experience.”

Harmon said that he has seen a multitude of changes over the years and spoke whimsically about the fact that he first met some of Sidney’s leading citizens back when he was doing show and tell presentations at local elementary schools and those men and women of today were children listening to what he had to say.

The men’s jobs haven’t, by any means, been easy.

“We sometimes saw people when they are at the worst points in their lives,” said Hamber. “It was a challenge.”

Harmon maintained that it was the support of family and others in the field that made it possible to do the job well.

“Things can go sideways pretty quickly when you’re on the job,” he said. “But my wife and good friends like Mike McGregor, the Unit Chief in Central Saanich, were always there to listen and make sure that I was okay with whatever had happened.”

According to  George Hammond, a current member of Sidney’s Ambulance Service and one of the organizers of the event, the celebration was the least that the service could do given the contribution that had been made by the two men.

“You’re losing leaders when you lose guys like this,” said Hammond. “You can’t quantify experience like that … can’t just replace that. When they go, it’s gone.”

Hammond said that it’s now up to other senior members of the service to step into the breach and try to fulfil that role.

“We have some great people, but it’s always hard to replace men like Len and Carson. They’ll be missed.”

— Tim Collins/News staff

Just Posted

Woman flees North Saanich RCMP in dinghy

Victoria woman tries to escape in dinghy, arrested for break and enter, theft and mischief

Youth have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into Oak Bay teen’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

Sidney welcomes spicy new arrival

Mexican restaurant Taco Shell opened this week on Beacon Avenue

RCMP fine man $1,150 for camping, lighting campfire in Mill Hill Regional Park

Campfires prohibited at all regional parks except designated campgrounds

No boozing while BC Ferries cruising

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

’When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

B.C. rolls out online registration to speed up evacuee processing

Central Okanagan district tests province’s streamlined emergency management digital self-registration

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Most Read