At The Newton Exchange

A great morning with the transit users in Newton with everyone looking forward to using LRT in the near future.
The riders were excited about the youth passes for those 18 and younger, and all were very happy with the Surrey First platform on public safety.

Remember to get out and vote this Saturday for Tom Gill, Mike Starchuk and the Surrey First team.

Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - MikeStarchuk.com Mike Starchuk - With Surrey First Candidates and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - MikeStarchuk.com Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - MikeStarchuk.com Mike Starchuk - With Commuters and Surrey Fire Fighters At the Newton Exchange - MikeStarchuk.com

 

 

Another Loss

Saturday (May 2, 2015) the second Surrey firefighter in the last few months, was laid to rest as a result of his struggles with mental health issues. Firefighters and other First Responder agencies from all regions across BC, attended the service, to show their support to the family, friends and fellow firefighters, during this trying time.

The Chaplin, Lieutenant Scott Young from Coquitlam FD, led the Celebration in a way that was truly cognizant of the circumstances of the service. While the Celebration of Life was filled with good stories, there was no avoiding the “elephant in the room” which was the mental health issues that our member was challenged with.

Surrey Fire Fighters’ Local 1271 President Mike McNamara called upon the audience to ask that “we put an end to this disease we can all control, and that is the disease of social stigma. It’s time we recognize that an illness is an illness, and it doesn’t matter where it is in your body – your leg, your heart, your lungs or your brain.” Chaplain Young referred to depression as “the bastard that can be in us.”  He spoke of how we all function well and continue our productive lives – until depression takes over and changes the way in which we make decisions.

The Celebration concluded with bagpipes playing Amazing Grace and the trumpet for the Last Post, which was provided by the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Pipes and Drums. Played in perfection and well appreciated by all there, but with all due respect, as a retired Surrey firefighter, songs I do not wish to hear again for a long, long time.

Another Loss - PTSD and First Responders - MikeStarchuk.com

The loss of two Surrey firefighters in two months due to their struggles with mental health issues is numbing. There were counsellors that were on hand in the theatre. A proactive idea to provide the opportunity for those who want to express their thoughts and feelings.

The doors to WorkSafe BC, to start talking about post discharge follow-up for those with a work-associated mental health diagnosis, have been opened. Now the public “social doors” need to be opened. President McNamara said it best when he addressed the social stigma. Olympian Clara Hughes who suffered from depression created the “Let’s Talk” initiative which aimed at fighting the stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time for Firefighters and other First Responders to start taking care of their own members in the same manner in which they serve their community – with pride, honour and respect. It’s time to come to the realization that it is OK to say “I’m not OK.”

Educational awareness will, in all likelihood, become a key component to fighting and ending this stigma. I look forward to the day when I can share that this component has been developed and put in practice. With regards to educational awareness, the National Mental Health Week runs from May 4 to May 10. Join in and participate in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 64th annual event.

For more information about Mental Health, you can go to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website: https://cmha.ca/document-category/mental-health/

If you talk about it on Social Media, you can use the Twitter hashtag #GETLOUD.

Thank You

An open thank you to all of those who have helped me.  Because of Elections BC regulations, we aren’t allowed to be ‘social’ on Social Media tomorrow… but please don’t think, because this account suddenly goes silent, that we aren’t out there, trying to earn every last vote.

I appreciate all the LIKES, SHARES, and wonderful comments of support we’ve received throughout the campaign! They mean SO much to me and my team. On Election Day, please remember to contact your friends, family and neighbours, and remind them how important it is to vote.

A few shout-outs before the silence of Social Media becomes the regulatory requirement.

I want to thank all of you that I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with over the last few months. I have to let you all know that regardless of the support (one way or another) I have grown from this experience. I hope the voters of Surrey give me the opportunity to use this experience.

Thank you to the Surrey First Councillors, Candidates and Campaign Team, who have all become extended members of my family.Surrey First Councillors, Candidates and volunteers at Team Surrey First doorknocking event at The Barge in Newton - MikeStarchuk.com

I want to thank “Mike’s Campaign” team for all of their hard work and their persistence to keep me moving forward. They have been there at a moment’s notice for tasks that we wanted and needed to be done. These are the people that I am proud to call friends and will cherish taking this journey with them.

To my fellow firefighters. Words will never describe my thanks for your efforts to get me noticed. Yes. I know I did some of that on my own, but my IAFF Brothers and Sisters efforts have surpassed my wildest dreams. Together we have made firefighting synonymous with public safety, as it should be. I am truly proud to be a member of the IAFF and will never forget a somewhat copied phrase I have used from many years ago and plan to continue to use, “membership has its privileges” and I’m privileged and honoured to be a member.

Lastly, to my family. They have seen the highs and lows of this campaign and offered nothing other than words of praise (sprinkled with a few swift kicks in the butt) during the past months. They understand the pressures I have been under and I couldn’t have done this without their support. Love you all!

Consider this a “good luck” chain letter and consider calling 10 people and letting them know that the Surrey First TEAM is the best choice for all of Surrey and you get great luck! Add the Surrey First Education team and you get super great luck!

Thank you.

Mike

 Mike Starchuk - celebrating Dussehra at the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society in Surrey - MikeStarchuk.com

BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association Endorsement

In May 2014, at the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ convention, over 175 delegates from 41 BC Fire Fighter Union Locals, bestowed Mike Starchuk with an Honourary Membership to the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (BCPFFA).

This honour was in recognition of his years of selfless work on behalf of his fellow fire fighters throughout the Province of British Columbia and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Starchuk has worked tirelessly in assisting fire fighters with resolving work related injuries and in improving and maintaining their overall health and wellness.  Surrey Fire Fighters’ Association President Mike McNamara stated, “Mike has been their anchor with his work and support of firefighters and their families, when they needed it most.”

You can read more about Mike’s selfless work on behalf of BC Fire Fighters, his community activism, and long history of volunteering and community involvement, here: https://surreyfirefighters.com/starchuk-bcpffa-honourary/

On November 3rd, Mike Starchuk and the Surrey First Team were honoured to be endorsed by the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, because of their support for Fire Fighters, and public safety issues.

 BC Professional Fire Fighters' Association endorses Mike Starchuk, Linda Hepner and the Surrey First TeamYou can read the full text of the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association endorsement of Mike and the Surrey First Team, here: BCPFFA endorsement

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(It should be noted that this endorsement is in addition to the previously given endorsement by the Surrey Fire Fighters – Local 1271, of Mike Starchuk and current Surrey First City Council members)

Surrey Fire Fighters support Mike Starchuk and the re-election of current Surrey First City Coucillors

 

 

Response To Media Coverage On Thanksgiving Weekend

This past Thanksgiving long weekend, there was an event that caused some concern, started by a few politically motivated and misinformed citizens of Surrey. Complaints were made to City staff at a time when they should have been allowed to enjoy this long weekend with their families.

CKNW reported on the so-called controversy. They have a job to do with regards to covering issues and stories they feel their audience wish to hear. My intent, here, is to set the record straight for those who have heard about vintage fire trucks being used at one of my meet-and-greet events.

I want to start by sending my apologies to the City of Surrey Fire Chief for the calls he has had to answer. Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed some taxpayers would think the Fire Chief would allow on-duty staff, to be taken out of the staffing requirements, for political reasons. The public should feel confident that the Code of Conduct that holds all City Employees accountable, would not permit on-duty resources to be used in the way it was suggested they were being used, this past Saturday.

Mike Starchuk & Surrey voters at Guildford Town Centre meet & greetWith regards to the issue of anger that was raised by one of the callers – for the sixty minutes we were at the Guildford bus loop, I assure you, that most everyone who passed by, engaged congenially with the candidates and posed for pictures with the trucks. The pictures that are posted on my sites and Surrey First’s sites, show that those who were there, were engaged with the candidates and were happy to be there.

 

So…

The story isn’t about a few squeaky wheels.

The story is about the opportunity for voters to meet, interact with, and engage our candidates, who took time out of their busy schedules to be available.

The story is about the Fire Fighters who came out on their day off to set up and assist with the event on a long weekend.

The story is about members of the public who shared their thoughts, concerns, and personal stories about life in Surrey.

The story is about how the Fire Fighters’ Association rescued the vintage truck and trailer from the scrap yard and restored it at no cost to the City. This allowed those there on Saturday, to view this wonderfully-restored antique and have the opportunity to take a photo with a pretty special antique vehicle.

The story is about the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Association supporting my efforts to be elected as Councillor in the upcoming election.

The story is about the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Association supporting the elected Surrey First Councillors who have taken Fire Fighter staffing levels from bare bone minimums which were unsafe ten years ago, to today where Surrey Fire Services have proper staffing levels and can function in a faster and safer way.

The REAL story is about Surrey First’s ongoing efforts to put the safety of Surrey Firefighters, and the public they serve, in a far better and safer position, than ever before.

Vera LeFranc & a Surrey family at Guildford Town Centre meet & greet