Gervais Deschênes, CD (FR - Fire Chief)
CFB Valcartier Fire Chief Gervais Deschênes, decided to hang up his skates and retire 31 August 2010, after more than 38 years of service with the CF and DND.
A native of St. Lucie County Beauregard Montmagny, Quebec, Gervais joined the Canadian Forces Reserve 5 September 1972, as a Medical Assistant (MedA).
In July 1973 he left for Lahr Germany where he was assigned to 4 Combat Medical Support Unit (CMSU 4). Back home, he was posted with the 7 Medical Coy and then with 5 UMGC (later the 5th Field Amb), participating in OP QUICK VICKING in Churchill, Manitoba, and OP GAMES CAN more commonly known as the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
On the 4 of April 1978, he joined the Fire Service as a DND civilian firefighter in Valcartier while continuing his military career with the reserve force. He was an indeterminate employee in May 1984, and promoted to crew chief (FR-02) the 23 of February 1987, and platoon chief (FR-03) the 1 of May 1989. After completing the Firefighter 6A course in August 1990 and the 6B in November 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief (FR-04) in January 2000. Finally, he held the position of Fire Chief from October 2003 until his retirement the 31 of August 2010.
Alongside his career as a Firefighter, Gervais has been very active with the Reserve Force and in the community. In his military career as a CF reservist, he was promoted to various ranks of non-commissioned officer and attained the position of Regimental Sergeant Major in 1981. He then chose to continue his career as an officer after being commissioned from the ranks in November 1982 as a Capt and promoted to Major in 1987; he graduated in 1989 from Staff College. After more than 20 years, he decided in 1992 to leave the CF reserve and spend more time with his family.
During the same period in 1978 he acquired his first aid and CPR instructor level and so he began teaching and has since then taught hundreds of courses and trained thousands of people in these areas. He is also actively involved with the St John Ambulance Brigade of which he became a Divisional Officer in 1980 and Commander of the St Monica Division. In 1978 and 1979 he participated as a captain of a team to compete at provincial and national first aid competitions, winning the Mary Otter cup awarded to the best team. In recognition of his service in February 1988, Queen Elizabeth II sanctioned his admission to the Order of St John as a Serving Brother of the order. He received the insignia at Rideau Hall, from then Governor General Sauvé.
Despite his schedule being pretty full, Gervais found time to take on a little more, teaching for Civil Protection of Quebec from 1979 to 1990 and then, almost full time at the Training Center of Emergency Measures for over 20 years, from 1983 to 2003. Finding free time on his schedule, he was involved in the community with the Heart Disease Foundation of from 1991 to 1994 as Vice-President Education and Quebec regional office from 1994 to 1997 as President of the Local Chauveau. He is also a member of the Military Institute of Quebec where he will be the VicePresident for 2 years.
As you may have noticed, Gervais has a very flexible schedule, in addition to his work activities; he had time to take on a vacation. It was during a trip to Florida that he met Judith in the fall of 1982, and it was during another trip to Trinidad with her in January 1983 that he proposed. Since he does not waste time, they married May 14, 1983 and the following year Judith gave birth to a beautiful daughter Sarah, who was followed closely by Gladys, 14 months later.
Judith and Gervais join the ranks of the "snow birds." They will return to spend the cold winter months in the place where they met in Florida. Gervais will benefit from the time he will spend in a warm climate by perfecting his golf game.