Continuing its long-standing tradition of community service, the Okanagan Landing Volunteer Firefighters Association is leaving a legacy in the North Okanagan.
The OLVFA, which is disbanding, has donated $25,000 to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s Tower of Care campaign.
“We are very thankful for the Okanagan Landing firefighters’ generous contribution to Tower of Care,” said Sue Beaudry, VJHF director of development.
“Their gift will be used to help equip and furnish a room on one of the top floors of Polson Tower, improving healthcare for generations of North Okanagan residents.”
Recognizing a need for fire protection services, the Okanagan Landing Firefighters Association was established in 1974 by a group of volunteers. Through donations and grants from the provincial government and Regional District of North Okanagan, volunteers constructed the fire hall on Okanagan Landing Road.
“There were about 10 to 15 of us,” said long-time member Len Ganz.
“We used our vehicles and offered our labour to build the hall brick by brick.”
Throughout the years, the group was involved in the community helping out with the Okanagan Landing Elementary School’s annual kids fun day, presenting the Halloween fireworks display and running the pancake breakfast at the Paddlewheel Park Regatta.
“As a non-profit society, the department never took practice pay. Everyone donated it back to the hall,” said Ganz.
When their service contract wasn’t renewed by the City of Vernon in 2012, members took on the task of dissolving the association and transferring funds to non-profits throughout Vernon.
“We looked at number of worthwhile charities and narrowed it down, eventually choosing five based on the impact it would have for the community,” said Ganz.
The completion of the top two floors of VJH’s Polson Tower will provide improved infection control and increased patient capacity, comfort and safety.
To date, the Tower of Care campaign has raised $1.9 million towards its $2.5 million goal.
“We are always thankful and inspired by the generosity of our community,” said Beaudry.
“There are a number of upcoming fundraising initiatives this year that we anticipate will bring us to our goal by the fall of 2015.”
For more information about the campaign, contact the VJH Foundation at 250-558-1362.