A fundraising effort is underway to help employees of the Skyline Truck Stop through difficult times ahead.
As unstoppable flames made their way through the popular Craigellachie business during a Nov. 2 fire, Trinity Kendrick says she and fellow Skyline employees stood on the outskirts, watching, while going through a mix of emotions.
“We all stood in the parking lot and cried – laughed and cried at all the memories. It’s really sad,” said Kendrick.
The staff at the Skyline, Kendrick says, were like family. It was a place where lifelong friendships were born, a place where the community gathered and a refuge for many travellers.
“We had co-workers that had been there for more than 20 years, a husband and wife couple there for 20 years, and single moms and that was their only income,” said Kendrick.
Following the fire, the Skyline’s longtime owners Lyall and Charlene Hainstock were finishing their last payroll for the foreseeable future.
“They really are awesome bosses, they care about their employees,” said Kendrick. “They’re more worried about us at this point which is, I mean, it’s got to be so hard for them, you know, they sunk their livelihoods into it.”
Between that paycheque and the anticipated long wait for employment insurance benefits to kick in, Kendrick saw a need to support her coworkers. She has since started a GoFundMe fundraising account to do just that (https://www.gofundme.com/cn8jub3s).
“I’m opting out of anything, I don’t need it, my family will be fed and stuff,” said Kendrick. “But there are other people who have nothing. I hesitate to speak about anybody’s personal situation, of course, but there are people who were just moving into bigger, more expensive places because of children situations and now they have no income.”
Kendrick noted there aren’t any similar employment options nearby.
After the fire, Kendrick says a trauma counsellor was brought in to help the Skyline staff – the impact of the fire being much greater than a burnt building.
“It was big memories for a lot of people; that was where everybody went People drove from Sicamous to come and have dinner, lunch or coffee,” said Kendrick. “And you know, the truckers on the road, the only place that’s not fast food for them to actually get a decent meal, between Vancouver and Calgary really.”