The Other Captain Kirk

An interview with veteran volunteer Garry Kirk

Garry Kirk, known for serving up his delicious coffee, often volunteers at Deer Lodge Centre’s Tower 4, home to many residents who are veterans of Canada’s armed forces.

Q: How long have you been a volunteer at Deer Lodge Centre, and why did you choose to volunteer here?

A: Twelve years ago, a veteran acquaintance moved to Deer Lodge Centre, Tower 4. I faithfully visited him almost every day and got to know the staff and other veteran residents. Following my friend’s death, I was asked to become a morning volunteer on Tower 4 and I have continued in this capacity for the past nine years.

Q: What kind of things do you do each time you come to Deer Lodge?

A: My duties begin at 7:00 AM until approximately 10:00 AM – making tea and coffee, pouring juice, helping residents get to and from the tables, tying on bibs. It’s a happy start to the day for all of us, full of jokes and cups of Garry’s delicious morning coffee. I also help out at the spring picnic, Remembrance Day service, Christmas decorating and other events.

Q: What do you most enjoy about volunteering at Deer Lodge?

A: I always love making residents smile – or, better still, laugh. It feels great to create some joy in their day. Volunteering gives me a sense of giving back and helping the community. I especially enjoy the time I spend with veterans. It brings fond memories of my dad who was a World War 2 veteran, and whom I first met at age four-and-a-half when he returned from overseas.

Flying Officer Kirk circa 1968.

Q: Tell us about your background, working life, and military service.

A: I grew up in a small Saskatchewan farming community. I joined the RCAF at age 18, attended University of Saskatchewan, and obtained a mechanical engineering degree. I became a military pilot. Flying the Argus aircraft on submarine patrol over the North Atlantic was a highlight of my military career. Then I flew for Air Canada for more than 30 years. Being “Captain Kirk” brought many smiles! Retirement came in 1998. Since then I’ve kept busy with family, grandkids, travelling, and volunteering at a very special place – TOWER 4, DEER LODGE CENTRE.