After a decade in Vancouver, this small town boy had tired of city life and jumped at the opportunity to come back to a town he had lived in once before. Aaron Mahoney grew up in Valemount, B.C., spent time in the bush heli-logging and eventually got a degree in forestry. Realizing the many dangers involved in the heli-logging industry, Mahoney felt a need to take some first-aid courses and prepare himself for on-site injury response. He upgraded his first-aid over time from basic courses through industrial first-aid and onto more advanced levels.
Mahoney’s new skills and certification made him desirable as a paramedic and in 1995, he began his career in the B.C. Ambulance Services. “I was able to practice my life saving skills on the side,” Mahoney stated “while still continuing with logging.” While attending the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, Mahoney met his wife Charlotte. Mahoney began working as a forestry consultant in Prince George. The position was not full-time. When Mahoney was offered a full-time position with B.C. Ambulance he found it hard to refuse and was soon on his way to Vancouver and his new job. “It was a little bit of a shock,” said Mahoney who was thrust right into the thick of Vancouver life treating drug overdoses and all kinds of unique patients. “I view it as a tremendous learning experience.”
Mahoney had spent a summer in Princeton as a summer student at Weyerhaeuser in the early 1990’s around the time when the mine was closing. “I always thought of Princeton as a nice town with real opportunities,” he said. “Now funny enough just as the mine is re-opening, I’m back. Mahoney didn’t come alone. His wife Charlotte and three children are here with him and moved a few weeks back when their youngest child was only a week old. “It has been a bit hectic for us…that’s for sure,” Mahoney said with a grin.
The Mahoney family were living in a two bedroom apartment near St.Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver…”Right in the thick of it,” Mahoney stated.
The family has settled into a larger space here in town and can’t wait to start enjoying the outdoors. “Princeton was a good fit for us,” said Mahoney. “We are happy to have four seasons again and happy it’s not raining and that there is blue sky.”
Charlotte is a qualified teacher who has taught French as a second language and Grade 4. “Charlotte plans to get back into teaching once the kids are a little older,” said Aaron, “but for now we are planning on getting bikes for the kids, thinking of biking the KVR, doing some canoeing and backpacking. We love the outdoors and are really looking forward to exploring around Princeton.”
Aaron is the new Unit Chief of the Princeton Ambulance crew and said so far his biggest challenge is finding enough people to work on ambulance. “We need to find some more paramedics and are looking for some new recruits.”
To become a paramedic, recruits need to have a class 4 driver’s license and occupational first aid level 3. The course can be taken in Kelowna and Penticton. “You can take it as a two week intensive course,” said Mahoney “ or as a six week weekend course.” The course costs around $715 to take, but opens up all sorts of employment opportunities. “The certification can help you get a course at the mine, pellet plant and numerous other places,” he stated. “Then, if you want to become an emergency medical responder the course is another $1200.
All in all, it seems Mahoney and his family have come to Princeton at the right time for them and for a community always starving for medical professionals. Mahoney’s years of experience and professional commitment to save iives make for a perfect mix for small town Princeton. “We plan on staying for a while,” Mahoney stated “and we are really looking forward to that.”