Posted on June 01, 2013

Community Service Award Winners

Every year, Randy Strandt volunteers a staggering number of hours to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) and its affiliate boards, all while performing his day job as director of finance for The Beedie Development Group.

Randy joined RCM-SAR as a rescue crewmember in 1998. Since that time, he has volunteered as a rescue boat coxswain, responsible for commanding a rescue boat in response to marine-related emergencies in the Vancouver area. In the last year alone, he has taken part in 18 rescues and 33 training missions, logging over 100 hours of sea-time and 200 volunteer hours.

"I didn't consciously make volunteerism a large part of my life," he says, "but I grew up with the understanding that you give back when and where you can. As long as I can recall, my parents were always very active in the community."

In becoming a volunteer rescuer, Randy followed in the footsteps of his father and brother, both former volunteer firefighters.

"I can recall the pager going off for a fire call at a young age," he says. "It left a strong impression on me."

In 2005, Randy was asked to join the board of governors of the RCM-SAR. He subsequently served as treasurer, vice-president, and president, and continues today as past president.

During his tenure as president from 2009 to 2012, Randy oversaw the design and construction of two response vessels designed to meet specific crew needs in the Pacific region; these vessels represented a significant achievement in the international world of search and rescue. He was also the public face of the organization during its re-branding, and when it came under intense scrutiny after the Coast Guard announced the closure of Kits Base. In addition, Randy had to lead the organization through a tragedy: the death of two volunteers during an RCM-SAR training exercise—the first on-duty deaths in the organization's 35-year history. He is credited with having helped to bring people together and begin the healing process.

Serving as president of the RCM-SAR meant also serving on the board of its affiliate, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary National. While serving as treasurer of both organizations, Randy restructured finances to make the national body more efficient; in the process, he realized significant savings and efficiencies that have benefited marine search and rescue not only in BC, but also across Canada.

"It has simply been my pleasure to serve with, and represent, many of the best people this country has to offer," he says. "My family and I have been extremely blessed with excellent careers, great employers, and so many opportunities that I would be remiss if I didn't give something back."