With anything that goes through the test of time, there is always change. This year has brought a lot of changes within GBHC; and a major one came in January with a change in office.
Our company presidency was held for 35 years by one man, Bob Loucks. When it came time for election of officers, he announced that he would not be running again, that it was time for someone else to man the helm. When the votes were counted it came to pass that Bob’s nephew Kyle Loucks would be that man.
At a mere 31 years old, Kyle was no new comer to the company. He’s been a member since he was 15 when he was one of the founding members of the “Blazers” a form of our Jr. program that we have today. When he turned 16 he became an advisor of the group and led the young firefighters in training and education within the company. He has countless fire school certificates including Rope and Rigging, Fire Police, First Responder Awareness, Emergency Response along with other certifications like EVOC, NIMS, and NIMS-700.
As with any major change in an organization, Kyle has been met with some resistance, as well as praise. This does not sway him from his convictions, however. Kyle knows what he wants and what he wants to see this company be and become. Kyle by no means is a pushover, he can be stubborn and sometimes a tad hot headed, but it is only because he has a vision and a passion for what he loves. He does his best to see that the decisions made are in the best interest of GBHC and the members involved. It is a huge responsibility that he does not take lightly in any way. We as members need to remember that change is not always easy for anyone and that trying something new may not always have negative results. Staying the same may feel safe but doesn’t allow for progression. Kyle treads on to get his messages across, to encourage more members to be involved, and tries to produce ways to better the organization. Why, you ask? Kyle is a 3rd generation firefighter. Practically his whole family has been involved with GBHC since anyone can remember; his grandparents, his mother, and his uncle. He tells me “it’s in my blood”. Ironically, when he was a little tyke, he was afraid of the siren. I’m kind of glad he grew out of that.
Back when he joined the Blazers, it wasn’t something he thought about doing, he just did it, like it was just a natural part of growing up for him. He has grown to adulthood within this company and brings to it the same love and passion as anyone.
I’ve watched him countless times with the junior members and new adult members, training them and teaching them the ropes of being firefighters. He is strict about how they carry out their training because in this line of work it isn’t something to take lightly and he stresses to them that one day there will be people, the public and their fellow comrades depending on them doing their job and doing it correctly. He passes on his knowledge and experience and stresses the responsibility that they will one day have. He does it well. Having two sons and a husband within GBHC, I can say with confidence they are in good hands and I trust what they have learned from Kyle and the other trainers. Even I have learned a great deal from Kyle and credit him immensely on how I carry out my small part within this company.
Kyle has been one of my main “go to guys” when it comes to writing my articles. I can always trust that he knows what’s going on with any particular person, knows their history, and their rolls here. All that information doesn’t come from someone who isn’t paying attention to things.
He works Bingo practically every Wednesday, he’s at training almost every Tuesday, he does dinners, weddings, banquets and bazaars, then there is cleaning detail, work detail, conducts the monthly meeting , plus runs on calls whenever and where ever they happen, and that is just what I can think of off the top of my head. He is looked upon by all of us as a fixture here, a natural part of GBHC, a fixture that would certainly leave a tremendous void if it were missing. I or anyone just cannot picture him not being here.
On top of all this he actually does have a home life. Kyle has been married to his wife Erin, who is also a valued and dedicated member of GBHC, for just two short years. They have taken on the joyous task of starting a life together which is hectic in itself. Kyle also works full time at Binghamton General Hospital. I’d say he’s got a lot on his plate.
Kyle knows how to relax and have fun, however. He is a huge fan of WWE Wrestling, which happy happy joy joy he has gotten the rest of my brood re-interested in. A vision that will never leave my memory is of Kyle walking down my street on his wedding night holding a genuine championship wrestling belt high above his head on his march home, like he had just been made king not just gotten married. He’s an avid video game fanatic, loves comedies and Star Wars, and in a past life somewhere I truly believe he may have been Darth Vador or at least wishes he had. Kyle loves to travel, and spend time at the family cottage. He jams to Metallica.
Kyle has many stories he can tell you about fun times within the company. I don’t think there is any member that he cannot tell you some hilarious situation or happening about. Seriously, there are some good ones. He told me about a time way back when Ted Winnie was Chief; Kyle and Brad Marvin were young. Ted had told them during a winter training session to take the stokes basket down a huge snow pile, well being the comedians that they are, Kyle and Brad decided to ride it down like a sled which didn’t end up well and anyone who knows Ted knows he didn’t find it funny. He then told them to haul it back up and do it correctly. Given the size of Kyle and Brad, that was no easy task in itself and I’m sure the sight of them going up the hill with the stokes was just as funny as the two of them going down.
In conclusion, it has occurred to me during writing this article that Kyle is really the beginning of the next generation here at GBHC. It is hard to see that when you know he has so much history here but really he is. He has taken on huge responsibility a big, big step for someone his age; a job that neither I nor many others would certainly like to take on. His nearly first year in office has gone well; he’s introduced many new ideas and voiced his visions for the future. He’s handled discrepancies and handed down discipline regretfully, but overall it has been a successful year; and as we approach the soon to come New Year, let us say “Thank You” for all of his hard work , not only this year but for the many years that Kyle has contributed to GBHC. Without any of it we would not be what we are today. You mean the world to us Kyle, now carry on Mr. President.