Andrew Corbiere volunteers for the love of his M’Chigeeng First Nation home

Andrew Corbiere

M’CHIGEENG – M’Chigeeng’s Andrew ‘Snooze’ Corbiere is a volunteer force in his community. A volunteer firefighter since the age of 18, volunteerism is a large part of this energetic young man’s life who has most recently turned his attention to helping to run the M’Chigeeng COVID-19 checkpoint.

The Expositor caught up with Mr. Corbiere during a volunteer stint at the Highway 540 checkpoint last Thursday where he was working a 12-hour shift on the highway following up on an 18 hour stretch the day before.

“I’m in charge of scheduling, recruiting and basically keeping it going,” Mr. Corbiere shared.

Mr. Corbiere said he was keen to volunteer in this role because he believes it’s incredibly important for the entire Manitoulin community. “It’s not a blockade, but a place to gather important statistics that can be used to show the different levels of government what is going on,” he said, adding that if there were an Island outbreak, the data might also prove useful to help track the virus’s spread.

Mr. Corbiere believes in this cause so much that he’s willing to risk his own health. “We keep our distance and have proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and I know there’s a chance (of contracting COVID-19), but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Mr. Corbiere said that the checkpoint volunteer crews have been getting a lot of support from most people and that there were only a small handful of “bad apples, which is to be expected.”

This past year, Mr. Corbiere could be found behind the bench of the M’Chigeeng bantam team, leading them to a near victory in the house league championships. “It was a tough playoff, but the kids had fun.” He’s also served as president for the M’Chigeeng Minor Hockey Association.

Mr. Corbiere’s favourite volunteer pastime is his role on the M’Chigeeng Fire Department. He even boasts the most calls responded to for the past seven years. “Well, I do live next door to the hall,” he laughed.

Being able to help save a life, or even the life of a beloved pet, means a lot to this volunteer.

“As soon as I hear the pager I run from my house to the hall and get the trucks ready.” Mr. Corbiere said he utilizes a lot of his firefighter training for his work at the checkpoint too.

“I try to help out as much as possible in the community,” Mr. Corbiere said. “People helped me out when I was growing up and now I’m paying it forward.”

The volunteer said he’s received a lot of personal support from the community, which gives him a great deal of motivation.

“No one has ever experienced these times, not in 100 years, so I’m trying to set a good example for future youths.”

Mr. Corbiere thanked his mom, dad, grandparents, family and friends “for raising me to be a caring and loving person and to the M’Chigeeng First Nation for giving me the opportunity to help make a difference in our community.”

“I try to be a good person, and I hope it encourages others, too,” Mr. Corbiere continued. “The more I help others and see how happy they are, seeing their smiles and appreciation, well I thrive off that, and others can too.”

“If you see a volunteer opportunity, take it—you’ll see the reward and how it pays off.”