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Tributes to search and rescue volunteer pour in
Coquitlam Search and Rescue is mourning the loss of a friend and colleague who was walking his dog in Anmore last week when he was hit and killed by a truck.
Roland Webb, 37, had been an active member of the Coquitlam SAR group for more than 10 years, and before that he served with search and rescue teams on Salt Spring Island, in Surrey and Lion's Bay. For the past 18 years, Webb worked as a superintendent for emergency management for the BC Ambulance Service.
Dwight Yochim, a search manager for Coquitlam SAR, said Webb had put more than half the team through its Ground Search and Rescue training and often took new recruits under his wing.
"It seemed to be what he was known for," Yochim said.
Webb was an active member of Coquitlam SAR's Mountain Rescue program and was recently certified as a member of the Helicopter Rescue team.
Webb was also a fixture at the BC Bike Race series, where he was the course medical manager, and was known to volunteer to provide medical training whenever it was necessary.
"He really went out of his way to make sure everyone had the necessary skills to save lives," Yochim said.
"That's probably the most ironic thing — he made sure others had the ability to save lives but we couldn't save his."
Tributes to Webb, known as Rollie to family and friends, poured in on the Coquitlam SAR's website from colleagues, volunteers and even people he helped rescue.
"I had the pleasure of working with Rollie on many searches and could always count on him to bring not just his skills but also his good sense of humour," said Richard Laing, team manager with Ridge Meadows SAR. "His passing will leave a large hole in not only many peoples' hearts but the SAR community as well."
"It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Rollie's sudden passing," said Michael Alcorn of BCAS' provincial programs. "I know that I share in the sense of deep loss that is felt by everyone who knew him."
Robert Sell, a fellow SAR volunteer, remembered Webb as a "true hero" who spent countless hours helping people in both his professional career and his volunteer activities.
"I'll never forget Rollie and his kind heart," said Leena Lousley, who was rescued by Coquitlam SAR in October 2006. "On that cold and scary day, the whole team was amazing but Rollie stood out. He was able to calm me down and eventually made me laugh. In the helicopter, he made me feel safe even though the doors were open. It's heartbreaking that this happened but I am very happy I got to meet this incredible human being and experience his loving, caring personality."
Coquitlam SAR remembered Webb as a driving force behind many team projects to improve and expand its rescue capabilities, always looking to learn and grow his own and others' skills.
And they remembered fondly Webb's fraught relationship with the team's all-terrain vehicle, which he broke on several occasions (once even requiring a helicopter retrieval). At the group's last Christmas party, they "honoured" him with the "Rollie Transportation Award."
And while Webb was a tireless volunteer, Yochim said his friend's greatest passion was his children, Abbie and Ethan.
"His kids meant everything to him," Yochim said, adding they were always part of the team's public events, helping to decorate floats and trucks for parades. Webb also leaves behind his partner, Helena, his ex-wife Tracey, his brother Sean, who's an officer in the Vancouver Police Department, and his father.
A funeral for Webb will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 3141 Shaughnessy St., Port Coquitlam.
• Coquitlam RCMP continue to investigate the crash on East Road in Anmore and are asking any potential witnesses who haven't spoken yet with investigators to contact Cpl. Richard O'Rourke or Const. Halewaood at 604-945-1550.