On March 25, the Iqaluit Fire Department recognized two of its own, giving out the Fire Services Exemplary Medal to two firefighters for 20 years of service. Eegeesiak Aniqmiuq and Captain Walter Oliver were given the medals at noon by Nunavut Fire Marshal Ted Clouter.

Both men started out as volunteer firefighters for the Iqaluit Fire Department, with Oliver starting out in 1997, then becoming a full-time member by 1999 and Aniqmiuq starting to volunteer in 1998. For the last 10 years Aniqmiuq has been working on a full-time basis with the Department.

“This presentation, I think, is a really important one for our organization, it’s not often as emergency service workers that we pause to celebrate,” said Iqaluit Fire Department Chief Geoff Spriggs at the medal ceremony.

Long time firefighter Eegeesiak Aniqmiuq, left, shakes Nunavut fire marshal Ted Coulter’s hand as he’s awarded the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

“It’s an opportunity to recognize the hard work dedication and sacrifice.”

“Not just to Eegee and Walter but their family as well who are there to support all the hard work you guys have been putting in these more than 20 years now.”

Firefighter Sol Tagak described Aniqmiuq’s service to everyone at the ceremony.

“Many members in this Department, past and present, see Eegee as a great source of knowledge, of this department, this city and its people.

“Eegee has been an incredible asset to this City and the Iqaluit Fire Department.”

Firefighter Chris Wilson also had a few words to say regarding Captain Oliver’s time with the Iqaluit Fire Department.

“The saying that some are born leaders, could not be more fitting. Walter has led the Association as president, acted as deputy fire chief, fire chief and captain,” said Wilson.

Amy Elgersma, the chief administrative officer for the City of Iqaluit, thanked the two firefighters for their service on behalf of the City.

Oliver described earning the medal as a humbling experience.

Captain Walter Oliver, left, is awarded the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of service by the Nunavut fire marshal Ted Coulter. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

“You don’t really look for it or anything but it’s quite good to get the medal and whatnot,” he said.

While it’s a tough job, says Oliver, it’s ultimately the crew and team as a whole who get the job done in the end.

“I just take it a bit at a time, it’s a tough job, it’s tough on your body sometimes, tough on the mind, it’s tough on the family as well, can’t keep going forever.

“But it’s ok, you got a great crew of people here, great folks to keep you going,” Oliver said.

“It’s no one person’s thing, people talk about team effort a lot of the time and that’s the only way you’re ever going to achieve anything on this job.”

Aniqmiuq echoed Oliver’s sentiment that it can also be a tough job, recalling a few of the more difficult fights.

“A couple of years ago, we had a NorthMart fire. We were on that fire for about 15 hours … me and Walter,” Aniqmiuq said. “(Building) 4100 we had a big fire too, a lot of big fires.”

Looking back at the last 20 years, Aniqmiuq never quite saw himself in the position he’s in now when he first started volunteering.

“I never seen myself (in 20 years) being in the fire service, it’s had its ups and downs.”

Join the Conversation


  1. Well done Walter. Wow !!! 20 years.
    Sending our best wishes from Scotland to you and your crew. Your mum and dad will be so proud .

    Lesley and Tom McLellan

  2. Congratulations to both of these long service first responders. It takes special individuals to be in this job for 20 years serving the people of Iqaluit. Well done!
    I am proud to see how the Iqaluit Fire Department has grown since my time as Chief.

  3. Congratulations. I have a quedtion….Why so many fires there Mr. Oliver? Any reasons why the fires set? Today another one. Between Biggest food store, and now Artic Weather Station. I hope your citizens are protected well.

  4. Hi… Would Alex Arthur be Working for you fellows now… If so, maybe u could have him Email me Please… Thx Eric L.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *