Jason Cochrane has come a long way since his days as a junior firefighter in Brooklyn.
In 17 years, the Sweets Corner native, who now serves at the Windsor Fire Department, has rose to the rank of lieutenant, joined his department’s Colour Party, carried the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association’s flag in the 2011 Canadian Fallen Firefighters national memorial parade and, just recently, became the proud new owner of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Minister of State Gordon O’Connor presented Cochrane with the Diamond Jubilee Medal at the annual general meeting of theCanadian Volunteer Fire Service Association in Ottawa this fall.
“I was very surprised to be nominated, and very honoured to be accepted for the medal,” Cochrane said.
Cochrane, one of 180 Canadian volunteer firefighters to be awarded the medal, says it is quite humbling to view the list of accomplishments of the firefighters shortlisted for the medal and think that someone felt his nomination stood out.
“I lucked out,” the father of two said with a smile.
Cochrane, an acting operations supervisor for the EHS Communications Center, admits it is tough to balance the day job with the demands of the fire service, but he takes great pride in being a volunteer firefighter.
As a line officer, Cochrane engages in “hands-on fire attack” in the heat of the action when necessary. He says he is able to keep his cool in any emergency situation by drawing on lessons learned in training drills.
“Knowing what we have, and how to use it makes it safer.”
Cochrane’s volunteer work has also included organizing two large-scale vehicle extrication competitions in Windsor, mentoring youth through the Big Brother Big Sisters program, developing training exercises, supporting the department’s fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society, providing medical first response services at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Ski Martock, presenting fire safety and prevention seminars in public forums and assisting with the organization of local charity golf tournaments.
Cochrane, who is reluctant to sing his own praises, says serving as a volunteer firefighter is about being part of a team, becoming involved in a community and having a positive impact on the lives of others.