David Hentschel had three families.
There was his immediate family – wife, Shay, daughter, Amelia, his mom and dad, sister, step-sisters, nieces, cousins.
There was his firefighting family at the BX Swan Lake Department where Hentschel volunteered for 16 years.
And there was his family from The Roster Sports Club, where Hentschel would unwind from his job in social work with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) with a game of squash. He took over helping to run a memorial tournament in honour of his Roster friend, and former North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS) colleague, Rob LeNoury.
All three loved him. All three are going to miss him. And all three were on hand Tuesday, Jan. 31, as an honour guard of emergency vehicles made its way with lights flashing up Silver Star Road to Dedecker East, paying its final respects to Hentschel, 50, who died suddenly on Jan. 22.
“There were five fire departments, the RCMP and Emergency Health Services taking part in a drive-by through the BX community, organized by chief Fiona (Morgenthaler-Code) of Coldstream,” said BX Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey. “There was a huge crowd gathered to watch and pay their respects.”
Wacey was chief when Hentschel walked into the department 16 years ago, intent on helping his community.
He made his way up the ranks from captain to lieutenant, then pulled back a bit after his daughter was born. Hentschel was always volunteering to help the department in some capacity.
“He was salt-of-the-earth,” said Wacey. “I was lucky to have him as a good friend and as a compatriot. He was always wiling to help with new people coming in. We have a coach/mentor program and Dave volunteered many times to be a mentor and coach.”
When not volunteering with the fire department, Hentschel focused on his family and his work.
After leaving NOYFSS, he completed his social work degree in Burnaby for the MCFD. He then worked in Fernie while completing his Master’s degree in work.
Hentschel returned to Vernon in 2006, continuing to work for the ministry in Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna and finally Fort St. James.
“He was one of the best,” said Wacey. “It’s been a difficult time.”
A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3412-15 Ave., Vernon which will also be livestreamed.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rob LeNoury Foundation through the Roster Sports Club.