One of Salt Spring’s former fire officials could use some help from the community he served for more than 30 years.
The family of Les Wagg, who served as Salt Spring Island’s fire chief until 1999, have started a GoFundMe page to raise funds on his behalf at: www.gofundme.com/f/help-get-retired-fire-chief-les-wagg-home.
Wagg’s grandson Marquez Holtby said the former chief had suffered a stroke last year that left the left-hand-side of his body paralyzed. Holtby said the family started the GoFundMe to raise money for costs associated with his medical care, including a medical flight back home from Ontario where he had been spending some retirement time.
According to family members, Wagg spent one month in the hospital there until he was stable enough for an air ambulance flight back to B.C. — a $58,000 flight, they said. After another two months in the hospital in Victoria, Wagg has entered rehab there and hopes to return to his Sooke home in the next several weeks — where the family plans to install several accessibility improvements for him, such as ramps and an accessible bathtub.
Friends and former colleagues continue to ask the community to step up if they can. Another former chief, Arjuna George, said Wagg was his first chief back when he joined the department, and called him “the definition of a true community fire chief,” dedicating countless hours to serving his community.
“I only worked with him for a few years before he retired,” said George, “but I learned so much from him in that short time. Now it is time to support him in his recovery; if you can donate financially, fantastic, if not, sharing his family’s GoFundme page would be greatly appreciated.”