It was the end of the fastpitch tournament awards ceremony Aug. 9 when league hall of fame inductee Glen McGregor called up all the volunteer firefighters in the crowd.
Under one arm McGregor clutched his seven-year-old grandson Charlie, who had fallen around 15 feet from a tree in the ball field two weeks earlier. The boy had injured four vertebrae, two of them crushed, and his arm in the fall. Sunday, the boy giggled as he stood by his grandfather, a child-sized cast on Charlie’s forearm the only visible sign of his ordeal.
McGregor credits the quick attention of Alec Pelzer, who has been a Bowen Island volunteer firefighter, for Charlie’s rapid recovery. Pelzer quickly attended to Charlie after his fall, keeping the boy as immobile as possible in the crucial moments following the incident.
“This guy stepped out of the comfort zone, sitting on the bleachers and watching,” McGregor told the crowd. “He went over and immediately put his first aid mask on and possibly saved my grandchild, most definitely, from sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.”
McGregor also acknowledged the other volunteer firefighters who attended the scene and acted with admirable speed and competence, in part due to weekly training and extra weekend courses.
“It’s a lot of nights away from the family,” said McGregor, himself a former captain of the Vancouver Fire Department and former Bowen Island volunteer firefighter.
“Once a night, once a week, every week. They train for free,” he told the crowd. “They do it for you guys and our community.”
A standing ovation met the volunteer firefighters as they walked up to join McGregor, Charlie and Pelzer.
Read Marcus Hondro’s coverage of the rest of the tournament here.