The Town of Hay River’s director of protective services and current fire chief, Ross Potter, will be retiring from his position later this year.
Originally from Edmonton, Potter says he came to the town of Hay River in 1974 to work as a mechanic at the airport after relocating from Sachs Harbour.
In 1977, he decided to become a volunteer firefighter and has been involved with the department and emergency services since, minus a few breaks.
Potter has been the chief of the town’s fire station for the past 10 years and was the town’s volunteer fire chief for about 12 years prior.
“I’ve been doing a lot of the safety work for the town over the past 10 years,” he said. “Because of the team’s efforts, the fire department managed to have the greatest proportion of the guys all become certified firefighters.
“I think our town’s medical team has gotten a little bit better. We built some decent emergency plans for the town, we’ve done all kinds of fire prevention work with the town.
“I think we’ve cut back on responses for fire and that type of thing.”
Senior administrative officer Glenn Smith told council of Potter’s retirement on January 11.
Potter says over his time in Hay River he’s seen good planning to prepare the town for success for the future.
He feels lucky to have been able to work with a supportive team.
“They’ve certainly made my life good,” he said.
“We’ve always had a really, really strong team. They’ve really helped us to be able to deal with the stress.”
Potter’s last day will be June 1.
After that, he says, he will remain the deputy fire chief and a paid on-call firefighter.
Potter says he’s looking forward to being able to travel to more of the territory and help with fire training.
“I’d like to get around to more of the communities and do a little bit more fire training in those areas,” he said.
“I definitely want to do some camping and just plain relax, do some yardwork. Just have days to do what I want to do.”