By Richard McGuire
Zephyr Peltier, age 5, knows exactly what he wants to be when he grows up – a firefighter.
Peltier recently won a chance to be Osoyoos Fire Chief for a Day with a ride to and from Osoyoos Elementary School in a shiny red fire truck.
The boy entered and won a colouring contest, even though his mother, Shannon Peltier, says he doesn’t normally do colouring.
“He was really excited,” said Shannon. “He definitely worked hard on it. It was a big deal.”
Sean Peltier, Zephyr’s father, also says his son took the contest very seriously.
“He did a couple of practice runs,” said Sean, describing Zephyr’s colouring efforts. “He did a couple that were rough drafts and then he hunkered down and tried really hard.”
Zephyr is a little shy, but there’s no hesitation when he’s asked about his career choice.
He said he decided last summer that he wants to be a firefighter, “Because I want to save lives.”
Zephyr also won a Junior Fire Chief certificate and along with the second and third place winners, he’ll take part in a special Wednesday night fire department practice, said Casey Brouwer, the firefighter and Town of Osoyoos employee who organized the contest.
“We’re going to try and incorporate the kids in a scenario demonstration,” said Brouwer. “Perhaps we’ll rescue them from a smoke-filled room or something to get them some hands-on.”
The second-place winner was Hayley Greenwood, 5, and in third place was Caleb Clark, 7.
Brouwer said there were 15 contest entries.
The colouring pages were distributed at Osoyoos Elementary School after a drill during Fire Prevention Week on Oct. 11 and they were also handed out at town hall and some businesses. It was open to everyone.
“We didn’t put an age limit on it,” said Brouwer. “We actually had someone who was 61 colour a page and said if they win, instead of a ride to school, they wanted a ride to pickleball.”
Brouwer said the 61-year-old, a woman, “was dead serious.” He declined to name her.
“She had some good colouring skills,” he said.
Town staff judged the entries.
When Zephyr showed up at a recent firefighter practice to receive his certificate, he was wearing his own firefighter outfit.
“Those are his normal everyday clothes,” said his father, adding that Zephyr sometimes dresses as a police officer or a referee.
“He’ll be some sort of authority figure,” his father joked.
Brouwer said he’s happy the contest gave the fire department a chance to get out into the community and get more exposure for Fire Prevention Week.
This is the first time they’ve done a colouring contest and chosen a Fire Chief for a Day, he said.