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For Pete's Sake
Update:Micheal Munro has been sent north on a construction job and his contact phone cannot be reached. His mother, Merryann Neville, is holding an organizational meeting today (Dec. 7) at The Art We Are at 8 p.m. Anyone wanting to help can also call KTW.
It was a windy day on Remembrance Day.
The kind of wind that can knock things over.
At Pete Edwards’ cabin out at the far end of Ord Road, the wind was so blustery it knocked over Pete’s chimney.
Pipes broke and, before he knew it, there was a fire in the rafters.
“I ran outside and got a bucket of water and thought I had it out,” Pete says.
He ran to a neighbour’s house to call the fire department — the 85-year-old doesn’t have a phone — “and, when I got back, it was too late.
“All that was left was the concrete floor. I swept it today and it’s so clean now we could have a dance.”
It wouldn’t be a big dance; Pete’s home for the last 14 years has been a small place, just big enough for him and his cats.
“The fire scared the kittens,” he says, “so they got outta there quick.”
He lives at the site at the request of its owners to make sure there’s someone always there. One of the delights of his day is looking after his chickens.
“I just look after things,” Pete says of what he has been doing there all these years
“I was told I could live here until I die. Maybe they didn’t realize I was gonna live so long.”
Pete is known throughout Kamloops as much for helping others as he is for his years as stage manager with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra or his job at the Kipp-Mallery Drug Store, where he was a dispenser.
Since the fire, he’s been living elsewhere but, now, he wants to go home — and friends are stepping up to ensure he can do that.
Micheal Munro, who has known Pete for years, is spearheading a move to get building materials and a crew of volunteers together to build a 10-foot by 20-foot cabin — ideally before the weather gets too cold.
Munro is looking for lumber studs (two-by-fours and two-by-sixes), insulation, OSH wall sheathing, shingles, fireplace and exhaust-venting materials, electrical and plumbing supplies and anything else that will help rebuild the home.
There’s also a need for the things that make a house a home, but the priority is to get those walls and roof up.
Replacing Pete’s glasses and dentures would also be helpful.
Munro has been receiving donations this week through a Facebook page he created to find help. Some have been material, some have been cash donations to buy things for Pete.
He’s hoping to hold an organizational meeting to plot out the plan.
Munro’s uncle, a foreman on a construction site downtown where Munro also works, has offered to help oversee the construction job.
With a good work crew ready to help — and with some of the work already started — Munro and his uncle believe the new cabin can be ready to move into quickly.
Munro’s mother, Merryann Neville, is hoping people will step up and help the man who has spent much of his six decades in Kamloops helping others.
“My heart hurts to see him go through so much. On Remembrance Day, he wakes up to his life on fire. He climbed a tree with buckets of water to try and save his home. How awfully scary to be alone and old. He’s lucky he got out alive.”
Pete says he came to Kamloops to live with “real nice people” after his family situation back in Ontario shattered.
“We lived in Brantford. My grandpa had a farm there. I only saw him twice,” Pete says of his past, declaring himself a bachelor “for at least the last 75 years.”
Anyone who wants to help can contact Munro at 250-571-2634.