Fire inspector Jeff Avery has been dismissed after over two decades of service to the town.
The 55-year-old Cochrane resident says he will miss doing what he loves.
"It's sad that I'm leaving the town, and I hope I touched a lot of lives in my 22 years, but it's time for the next adventure in my life."
Moving to Cochrane when he was in Grade 2, Avery believes people know of his passion for the community and his love for his brothers and sisters at Cochrane Fire Services.
"I've put my blood, sweat, and tears into this town and I have truly put the residents of Cochrane before me."
Outside of work, Avery has been a highly active volunteer in the community for many important local causes over the years and coached youth football, baseball, and soccer.
The Cochrane High graduate played for a Cochrane Cobras football team that went on to become provincial champions. He also played minor football with the Lions.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1989 and 1990 Calgary Colts Junior Football Club, which won back-to-back national championships.
Avery paid it forward by helping coach the Cochrane Cobras until a couple of years ago and is proud of the many Cobra teams that have gone on to rewrite Alberta's football history book.
There's more to Jeff Avery than sports. He was heavily involved with the charitable efforts and community initiatives of local firefighters, including Doors Open events, numerous open houses, pancake breakfasts, and the Labour Day Parade.
He was instrumental in helping organize the annual First Responders Christmas parades to lift Christmas spirits while collecting nonperishables for the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank. Before that, the firefighters held an annual Santa Claus Run on Christmas Eve.
Avery drew inspiration from a local youth battling a brain tumor a few years ago. After hearing a story from her grandma, he and the firefighters invited the young girl to the fire hall to make all her Christmas wishes come true.
"So she and her sister came to the fire hall and we spoiled them, and it was so cool to see. Everybody was there. David Humphreys was the chief then and everybody had a tear in their eye when we were done.
"That little girl just gave me so much inspiration that I cannot have bad days because of her."
Avery had his own health battle a few years before then. He started to get headaches and upon closer examination, a brain tumour was discovered. Fortunately, he survived surgery and has had a clean bill of health since. At the time, though, the doctor couldn't give him a timeline or whether he would survive the operation unscathed.
Avery says since word has spread of his dismissal, he has had about 100 people reach out to him, including several current and former town employees.
He says he will be fighting the decision.
CochraneNow reached out to the town for the reason(s) behind his dismissal.
"The Town of Cochrane is not at liberty to discuss specific personnel matters," states Town CAO Mike Derricott in an email.
Avery was let go 2.5 years before he becomes eligible for a full pension.
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