There’s a new executive director at the helm of the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation.
Fourth-year Oak Bay firefighter Trent Frenkel takes on the role.
Outgoing executive director Jason Hodge will stay on board in an advisory capacity to aid Frenkel during the transition. During his time off on Monday, Frenkel was already in meetings ahead of the 2020 Oak Bay Sausage Fest.
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Thank you to the active members, retired members and all of the families who came out to volunteer time this weekend. Also, to Bartlett Tree Experts who made the whole weekend possible. We understand there were many tree recycle programs going on and we had overwhelming support from the community. That support and all the donations received gives us the opportunity to give even more back to the community and for that, we are extremely grateful. Thank you so much to everyone who braved the weather and helped us this weekend.
Frenkel, 31, hopes to grow and expand on the work Hodge did, he said. The latter has been running the charitable foundation for four years.
It’s a one-person job but still a step up, and Frenkel will rely on Hodge’s experience this winter and spring.
“We can work and train as much as we do, but this is something that helps me get out into the community with people a little bit more,” Frenkel said.
While Sausage Fest will turn five in 2020 and has become the foundation’s primary fundraiser, Frenkel will also coordinate firefighters volunteering with their annual tree chipping and with Santas Anonymous.
Last week’s Christmas tree chipping pulled in close to $4,400 for the foundation’s high school bursaries, which is significant as the tree-chipping business has become fairly competitive, Frenkel noted.
“There is a lot of these tree chipping programs going on now so to see that support from the community really helps,” he said.
Like all Oak Bay firefighters, Frenkel has volunteered at the annual Sausage Fest and is familiar with the event. He’s also volunteered with the Kiwanis Pavilion since starting with OBFD.
Nothing beats the stories he’s heard while volunteering with Santas Anonymous, which he has enjoyed.
“We’re not the only crew to volunteer at Santas Anonymous, it’s the whole community,” Frenkel noted. “We donate money from the association, but we also volunteer [individually] at the telethon, giving out gift baskets at pick-up and delivery.”
It’s at the delivery of the gift baskets that Frenkel hears stories from the program’s grateful beneficiaries, he said.
“It makes you want to become more involved in the community.”
Before joining Oak Bay Fire Department Frenkel worked eight seasons fighting wildfires (based out of Vanderhoof) from 2007 to 2015.
Frenkel’s new opportunity comes as Hodge steps back with a goal to spend more time with his family and their three young children.
“I want to be more active in their lives with coaching, helping out with school work and weekend family adventures,” Hodge said. “I feel like the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation has grown substantially over the past four years. I know our members worked hard with volunteer hours but it’s all of you that really help grow the foundation. I want to say thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years.”
Hodge remains involved as the vice president of Local 1856.