Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Alf Soros and the Okanagan Landing Volunteer Fire Department for the fantastic Halloween fireworks display.
I’m not sure if the healthy state of our loonie got your more bang for you buck this year, but I would have to rate this year’s fireworks as the best one your department has ever shown.
I’m not sure if most of the people watching know where the $4,000 to $5,000 comes from to put on such a display, but I do, and that makes me doubly more appreciative for this event.
The money is donated by the part-time professional members (volunteers) from the $14 an hour practice pay that is allotted members each Tuesday night and all of the other times they engage in training exercises.
The OKLVFD has for its entire history voted unanimously each year to donate 100 per cent of members’ practice pay for the year back into its non-profit association.
It is from this money that the OKLVFD funds scholarships for Vernon grads and donations to a wide variety of charities throughout the year, including the Diabetes Foundation and the B.C. Burn Fund, and, of course, the Halloween fireworks display.
That practice pay is part of the annual operating budget that is provided by the City of Vernon taxpayers.
Because the Landing hall is manned entirely by volunteers, however, Vernon taxpayers are saved an annual expense of close to $1 million.
And the added benefit is that these volunteers donate a sizable portion of their annual budget directly back into the community.
In essence, Okanagan Landing residents subsidize the rest of Vernon by paying the same cost for fire protection by having a volunteer fire hall.
So the next time you are driving around town and spot the distinctive licence plate of an OKLVFD member (or any other local volunteer fire department member, as most operate in a similar manner), give a thumbs-up for the great service they provide.
If you’re really feeling the spirit, a thank you note to your local volunteer fire hall on a Tuesday evening would also let these fine people know that their donations to our community are very much appreciated.
As for me, I can hardly wait to see what next year’s fireworks will be like.
Dan Dueck, Vernon