Enderby firefighters lower the casket of Dan Botkin from a fire truck prior to his funeral at the Enderby Arena Thursday. Botkin died in an explosion Dec. 29.

Enderby says goodbye to firefighter

Residents and emergency personnel pay final respects to Dan Botkin



Longtime friends Missy Schalin and Sean Annan believe Enderby Fire Department Captain Dan Botkin didn’t die a hero.

He was born one.

The pair eulogized Botkin, 25, killed Dec. 29 on-duty in a fire and explosion at Sperlich Log Constructon, during Botkin’s public funeral Thursday at the Enderby Arena, which included more than 1,000 firefighters and emergency services personnel from across Canada.

“He was Dan-tastic, as he would say, and for those of us who were blessed to know him couldn’t agree more,” said Schalin. “All of his friends and family vote him as an amazing person, husband, son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend, touching each of us in such a unique way, teaching us it’s not the years in your life but the life in your years.”

The uniformed firefighters and emergency personnel, which included RCMP in red serge, Search and Rescue, paramedics and volunteers, formed an honour guard at the Enderby Chamber of Commerce, and marched through the streets of Enderby under a mix of blue and grey skies, with a hint of sunshine, to the arena. The guard also included more than 30 fire trucks from various departments on hand for the funeral.

Botkin’s Canadian flag-draped coffin was brought to the arena aboard an Enderby Fire Department truck, with eight of his firefighting brethren carrying the coffin into the arena past Botkin’s beloved 1968 white Plymouth Valiant car, parked at the arena entrance.

More of his comrades formed the honour guard into the arena as everyone was piped in.

Enderby Fire Chief Kevin Alstad held Botkin’s No. 26 helmet on the front during the honour guard, then escorted Botkin’s wife Miranda – the newlyweds married Oct. 29 – to her seat at the front of the stage which was adorned with her husband’s fire jacket and pictures of Botkin.

Seven of Botkin’s friends and family, dressed in matching black suits and shirts with pink ties – Botkin loved pink, including wanting to paint his Valiant that colour – served as pallbearers and brought the coffin onto the stage.

“I have never heard Dan say one bad word about anybody,” said Alstad. “Captain Dan always encouraged other members to get involved with the fire hall. He was a solid, reliable person one could trust with his own life. He will be dearly missed by members of this department, his family and his friends and the whole emergency service.”

While Alstad, Schalin and Annan eulogized their friend and colleague, a number of dignitaries were present to express their condolences.

Among them were Enderby Mayor Howie Cyr, B.C. Fire Commissioner Rebecca Denlinger, Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster and, representing the Queen, B.C. Lt.-Gov. The Honourable Steven Point, a man used to giving speeches.

“On this day, words fail me,” said Point. “How do you express the uprising of emotions? How do you capture in words the feelings that you have? It’s not possible I think. I’d like to thank all of you for coming, all of you ladies and gentlemen that came from all over the province to demonstrate your support.

“Our great province would be nothing without the kind of dedication and service that we receive from gentlemen like Dan Botkin, who give up their time and energy in community service without asking for anything, knowing full well the danger and life-threatening situations that may arise.”

There were 1,000 chairs set up on the floor of the Enderby Arena, taken up by family and friends, while the stands were filled to capacity with members of the public, many of whom were in their seats an hour before the start of the 11 a.m. service.

Several hundred citizens also lined the honour guard route and those that couldn’t get into the arena gathered at the facility’s north end outside, braving a whipping wind to listen to the ceremony broadcast on speakers.

Among them was Jim Newman of Grindrod, whose nephew is a firefighter who served with Botkin.

“I’m here to support my nephew and his firefighter brothers and sisters,” said Newman, a former volunteer firefighter in Alberta.

“The honour guard was amazing. It was a beautiful display of professionalism. I was impressed by the number of firefighters that showed up from across the province and beyond. It was a great display of camaraderie by firefighters as a whole. I know the community appreciates the sacrifices these guys make.”

Botkin, who made the ultimate sacrifice serving his community, was given a three-ring bell ceremony as the service ended, a firefighting tradition.

Firefighters then formed another honour guard along Kate Street in front of the arena, two rows deep on both sides of the road that stretched onto Howard Avenue, and saluted Botkin as he was driven by in a hearse.

Botkin was laid to rest in the Enderby Cemetery.

 

 

Just Posted

Snow warning: Bad for the highways, great for the ski hills

Get your ski gear ready as area mountains are ready for you to enjoy all the Interior winter has to offer this season.

Christmas tree pagaent takes over the Sutton Place Hotel

The Sutton Place Christmas Tree Pagaent is going on right now until… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass

A winter storm is expected to roll through the area today with… Continue reading

Columbia Shuswap Regional District approves cannabis business policy

Directors of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District gave unanimous approval to a… Continue reading

Revelstoke Grizzlies win two

The Revelstoke Grizzlies played the Princeton Posse on home ice on Friday… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

2 facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog found in B.C.

Amy Hui-Yu Lin and Glenn Mislang have been charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress

UBC Okanagan research says giant tortoise insights into longevity and age-related disease

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

No flood of extremist returnees to Canada expected, federal report says

The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Canada-China relations turn icy over arrest of Chinese exec

The Huawei case has threatened to complicate U.S.-China efforts to resolve a bitter trade dispute.

Prosecutor signs off on former B.C. Liberal government’s quick-wins probe

David Butcher said in a statement released Monday that the RCMP recommended charges under the Elections Act

Canadian physicist who won Nobel Prize touts science for the sake of science

Donna Strickland, 59, said securing the field’s highest honour has given her a significant new platform

Cannabis store application receives approval from Summerland council

Application to Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is for store in Summerfair Shopping Centre

Most Read