Mike Canada was born to be of service to others. His happiest moments in life were when he was helping others in his community and spending time with family and friends.
Mike’s career was with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 38 years. He was in wildlife refuge management and later in the law enforcement division as a federal wildlife zone officer. He also served during national disasters, such as providing security for the firefighters at numerous wildfires in California. He served during the Gulf Oil Spill and provided relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, along with several other hurricane relief efforts here on the East Coast.
During Mike’s early career with the fish hatchery back in the late 1970s, he began volunteering for the local volunteer fire department at Providence Forge, Virginia. He genuinely enjoyed the comradery and brotherhood he shared with other members of a dedicated department. During this time, he and his wife, Donna, a nurse, received their initial EMT training together.
The last fire department that Mike served with, for 25 years, was Bear Grass Fire and Rescue in Bear Grass, North Carolina. It was here that he and his family put down roots in a small community of people who made them feel like family. Mike was known to have skills such as rappelling with ropes, understanding equipment, safety, and many other abilities that were beneficial to the department. Mike was known for his fun-loving personality and many times was the life of the annual Christmas party at the department. He enjoyed mentoring the young members. He was always so proud of “our fire department” and how they would readily go out into the community to help others with clean up after a hurricane or storm, search for a missing person, and many times help a family in need that was above and beyond their call of duty.
There really are not words to describe Mike’s love of his family. He was married to his wife, Donna, for 44 happy years, and they had just celebrated their anniversary on the day of his death. Mike was a loving father to his son and daughter, their spouses, and his five grandsons. He spent most of his free time enjoying the outdoors, hunting, and fishing with his family, especially those grandsons. How they adored time with him! His family and friends dearly miss his dynamic presence in our lives. We will forever love and honor his memory and remember his service to others!