UPDATED: Firefighter Skyler Blackie remembered fondly

Skyler Blackie. (Submitted photo)

WAVERLEY: Skyler Blackie is being remembered as a favourite among parents and kids as a camp counsellor at the WJCC.

Blackie, a former Fall River volunteer firefighter with Station 45 who was now a career firefighter with the Truro Fire Service, passed away March 20 as a result of his injuries from a training incident on March 9. It occurred at the N.S. Fire School in Waverley.

Skyler had signed up to be an organ donor, so as his obituary says “his legacy and strength will live on in others.”

A regimental funeral service will be held in Skyler’s memory on March 30, beginning at 11 a.m. at Colchester Legion Stadium in Truro. If so desired, donations in Skyler’s memory to Colchester SPCA or Prostate Cancer Canada are welcomed.

Daniel MacKenzie of Fall River remembers when he was a Junior Leader and camper at the Windsor Junction Community Centre, and Skyler was a counsellor there.

“He was always one of everyone’s favourite among parents and kids,” said MacKenzie. “A memory of mine that I will never forget was when “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry first came out and it was on the radio. Skyler was the first one and the loudest to start singing it.

“He was the funniest guy around when it came to pulling pranks and doing back flips off the fence into the sand pit or losing a bet to lick home plate.

MacKenzie is sad at the news of what happened.

“He will be missed,” he said.

In his time as a lifeguard at the WJCC, his and his fellow lifeguards were recognized for their efforts in a fatal medical emergency in 2008. They were recognized by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for showing remarkable organization, courage, and skill.

“We are heartbroken for his family and friends over this tragic loss,” the WJCC posted on their FB page on March 21.

In his obituary, it says he was born in Kingston, Ont., and graduated from Lockview High in 2009. He was a certified life guard and received a medal for his life saving efforts.

“A volunteer firefighter since the age of 18, he was trained through Halifax Regional Fire, and served as a Lieutenant with Station 45 in Fall River,” the obituary reads.

He began his career as a firefighter with Truro Fire Service on October 1, 2013.

Blackie, 28, was “charismatic, funny, outgoing and a kind individual who touched everybody’s heart.”

“As lead of the charitable committee for the fire hall, he generously shared his efforts to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer, participating yearly in “Movember,” the obituary continued. “He enjoyed fitness and built the gym at the fire hall and instilled his passion with others through personal training.

“Although Skyler had a passion for firefighting and fitness, his passion and love for Erin and building a life with her was immeasurable.”

Skyler’s K9 companion, Bella, held a special place in his heart.

The obituary gives special thanks to the doctors and nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at the New Halifax Infirmary, QEII and to the firefighters and community in Truro, across the province and beyond for their tremendous love and support.

The Town of Truro made a post on their Facebook Page on March 20 saying Skyler will be missed by all who he touched.

“Truro has lost a young, outgoing, charismatic man who will be missed deeply by his wife, his family, his family of firefighters, his friends and co-workers,” the post said.

Scott Squires of Truro said he didn’t know Blackie very long, but he knew right away he was a great guy.

“The impression he left with me will last the rest of my life,” said Squires in a tweet. “He was a good person. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

He lived next door to Blackie for a short time when he moved to Truro.

“Skyler was an exceptionally friendly and outgoing young man,” he said. “He always took time to say hello and he was so excited and thrilled to be a firefighter. When I read his name (as the firefighter that died), it moved me to tears.”

In a statement issued by Jessica Gillis, Skyler’s sister on behalf of the family, they thank everyone for their support during this difficult time.

“On behalf of the Blackie family, we would like to thank the Truro and Halifax fire services for their support during this challenging time,” the statement reads. “We also are so appreciative of the professional care Skyler received from the ICU nurses, doctors, and staff at the QEII Health Sciences Centre – Halifax Infirmary Site.

“We want to also thank the community at large for their prayers and support; they have not gone unnoticed.”

The family has asked for privacy as they grieve.

“As you can appreciate, our family is devastated by the huge void that now exists in our lives,” said Gillis in the statement. “As such, we asking for privacy while we grieve this loss.”