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Fire chief receives honorary degree from Justice Institute

New Westminster’s fire chief is being honoured for his contributions to public safety.
New Westminster fire chief Tim Armstrong is being presented with an honorary degree from the Justice Institute of B.C.

New Westminster’s fire chief is being honoured for his contributions to public safety.

Tim Armstrong will be presented with a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, by the Justice Institute of British Columbia at the winter convocation ceremony on March 12, according to a press release from the institute.

“It is our privilege to honour Tim Armstrong, a public safety leader who has dedicated his career to leading and supporting the advanced training of firefighters and search-and-rescue teams, as well as cooperative emergency management efforts on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border,” Michel Tarko, president and CEO of the institute, stated in the release.

Armstrong was also honoured for his work as director of Honour House Society, which provides free temporary housing for members of the military and first responders, as well as their families, while they receive medical treatment and care in Metro Vancouver.

Armstrong became a firefighter when he was 21 and served with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services for 28 years. He became the New Westminster fire chief in 2009 and is also director of emergency management for the City of New Westminster.

“As a strong advocate of emergency management and cross-border relationships, he is the chair of the Cross Border Emergency Management Working Group which engages emergency responders and law-enforcement agencies in British Columbia and the State of Washington in multi-agency emergency preparedness initiatives,” the release stated.

He has led training in Canada, the United States and Taiwan and was recognized for leading a search-and-rescue team mission in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Armstrong was named Fire Chief of the Year by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs in 2017. He was involved in the provincial response to wildfires in B.C. in 2017 and 2018.

He has been President of the Greater Vancouver Fire Chiefs Association since 2010, and he was on the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The 2020 winter convocation ceremony is being held at the New Westminster campus and will recognize approximately 350 graduates who have completed certificates, diplomas and degrees at the institute.