Members of the community gathered Monday to celebrate the life of Thomas Lacey.

Lacey passed away July 1 after battling cancer.

The Civic Centre was full as residents gathered to honour a man who greatly impacted the community not only as a great neighbour and human being, but for the greater good of public safety.

He made significant contributions to the Merritt and Logan Lake communities over the years in his time working at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and as a retiree who continued contributing his time for the interest of public safety.

Firefighters stood around the perimeter of the room at the memorial in honour of their co-worker and friend.

“The effects he had on public safety, we’ll see the benefits of that for years to come,” said David Tomkinson, Merritt’s fire chief who knew Lacey for well over 20 years, in a phone interview.

“He was instrumental in the co-ordination of cross training structural firefighters with wild land firefighters,” Tomkinson said.

“He definitely made it safer for our firefighters to respond to wild land fires.”

Mayor Susan Roline knew Lacey for over 35 years.

“He definitely cared about his work,” Roline said in a phone interview.

Roline said Lacey was invaluable in Merritt’s emergency plan including flood and fire safety.

Lacey was also recognized in June for his assistance with an interface plan for the District of Logan Lake. He was made an honourary citizen of Logan Lake and an award of excellence was created in his name that will be awarded annually by the Interface Society.

“I know he will be dearly missed,” Roline said.

Roline’s statement was evident by the amount of people at Lacey’s memorial service.

Susie Ireland provided opening comments, the eulogy was provided by Harry Spahan, a story was shared by Len Marsh and a poem was read by Bob Beck.

Some people shared remarks and condolences in an open mike forum. Memories were shared and best wishes to him and his family were offered.

Representatives from the Logan Lake and Merritt communities thanked Lacey and his family for the time he had put into public safety.

“We lost a good citizen,” Roline said.