When Saskia Holditch arrived in Pelham a decade ago, Fire Prevention was handled by volunteers from each of the town’s three fire houses. Upon her departure for a job in New Zealand this Friday past, Saskia had become a full-time Fire Prevention Officer whose duties encompassed all three fire houses, and made her responsible for education and enforcement, as well as a number of Municipal and Regional initiatives.
“She was the first full-time FPO in the town of Pelham, so she had a bit of trailblazing to do,” said Fenwick Volunteer Firefighter Capt. Otto Heinrich. “But she took things seriously, and did a lot for public awareness. She will be missed.”
Pelham’s Fire Chief Bob Lymburner echoed those sentiments, noting Saskia’s professionalism and commitment.
“She was a great FPO,” he said. “She dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’, she knew the code inside and out, and was very well respected by her peers. We’re going to miss her and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Saskia will be facing fresh challenges at her new position, where she will be working to comply with code rather than enforce it.
“What I do here as part of my job is enforcement to ensure people are following the rules. Now I’ll be on the receiving end of that,” she said.
Though moving half way around the world might be a daunting prospect to most people, Saskia’s studies and work history have left her well-travelled. She did Kindergarten in Nigeria, elementary school in the Caribbean, university in Holland, and has also worked in Eastern and Western Canada. She is excited to take on a new challenge in a new country.
“The worst thing for me would be to say ‘no’ just because I am afraid to go, and then come to regret it six months or a year down the line, and have to wonder ‘what if?’,” she said.
She will be moving to Lower Hutt, near New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. So far she has received incredible support from friends and colleagues on both ends of the globe, for which she is deeply grateful.
“Everyone has been really great with all the goodbyes and well-wishes,” she said. “I just want to say ‘thank you’ Town of Pelham and everyone here for the fabulous response.”