The Fort St. John Petroleum Association honoured two community members Tuesday, Dec. 15, for their contributions to the oil and gas industry.
Don Hartman was named the Oilman of the Year for exceptional dedication and service to the oil and gas industry, while Vic Moskalyk received the Ivor Miller Award for exceptional dedication and service to the Petroleum Association.
Petroleum Association President Dustin Stirling presented the awards privately to each individual, expressing regret that he couldn't give out the awards at a big celebration as would traditionally happen in a non-pandemic year.
Hartman was moved and honoured by the award.
"I'm really proud, a lot of my mentor's names are on here and some good people. To be associated with these people is pretty impressive. If you could just see me smile," Hartman said, referring to the fact his smile was hidden by a face mask. "The oil patch has been good, the club has been good."
Moskalyk said he never helped with the club to get a reward, but it felt good to be recognized.
"You don't do this to get the award. It's all about the club and you do it because you enjoy it," said Moskalyk. "We all have to do our part, and I enjoyed it. It was fun."
Don was born in Beaverlodge in 1955. His family moved around to Chetywnd and Goodlow as a child. He went to high school in Fort St. John, and stayed there as an adult. Don's dad Al Hartman had a tank truck leased to Koch Oil. The boom was on in the Boundary Lake oil patch and when Don was only 14 years old he started driving tank truck for his dad on an occasional weekend. Think about that for a second, how many 14-year-old young men do you know who you would trust driving a Kenworth hauling oil?
When Don was a kid, everyone in Goodlow curled, the socual hub of that little community in the winter. Kids started young, the Hartmans, Ollenbergers, Barkers, Goulds, and Young families curled in the regular draw and in bonspiels on the weekend. There were only two sheets of natural ice but each year they held the world famous "Godlow International Oilmen's Bonspiel", with 24 teams curling around the clock for four days.
Don had lots of ambition and bought his first used tank truck from Terry Bloor when he was only 19. The boom was on and Don worked lots of long days in the Boundary Lake oil patch, working for Texaco, Dome and Esso. He bought a new Mack tank trunk in 1977, selling it in 1985 to operate wells for Kelly Ollenberger in Zama Lake, from 1985 to 1988.
He went to work for Dennis Bloor at Koch Oil in 1988, staying there until 1995, making dispatching, supervising and safety look easy. He started working for Wajax selling equipment in 1995. In 1998, after learning much about the construction industry, he moved over to Fort Motors and started selling cars. His friendly smile and easygoing personality made this a successful career.
In 2000, Don began working for Teddy Moog as a sales rep at SOS Safety. 10 years later, he started his own safety company, Rig Ratz Safety. His determination, hard work and tenacity helped to grow Rig Ratz from very humble beginnings to the successful company it is now.
Now in his retirement, Don and Angela spend lots of time at their acreage in Charlie Lake. Their blended family of five children and 14 grandchildren keep them busy. Don golfed in the Oilmen's Golf Tournament and curled in the Oilmen's Bonspiel. He has been a great supporter of all the Oilmen's events and is a great supporter of junior curling in the Fort St. John area.
Vic was born in Fairview in 1957, moving to Fort St. John a year later where he's lived ever since. He finished school in 1975, and went to work as a driller's helper on a seismic drilling rig. For the next five years, this work took him across Western Canada, and from Fort Nelson to Brandon Manitoba.
Vic married his wife Pat in 1979, and started working for the National Supply Company that same year. In 1983, he spent a year at Northern Metalic Sales. The following year, he began working for Franklin Supply Co., where he spent 10 years, including eight years as a manager.
He retired in 2019, working at Noble as GM and part owner. Vic has been a long time meber of the Petroleum Association, and is now a charter member. During his years as a member, he served two terms as director on the club's executive committee, and played a big part in the Petroleum Association's 50th anniversary celebration. He helped run the Oilmen's Bonspiel for 25 years, and still volunteers today.