On Sept. 9 I had the opportunity to work with an incredible group of people – the Summerland Emergency Social Services Group during the evacuation of Peachland during the Trepanier fire.
This group of people, led by John Topham, are so giving and compassionate during an emergency situation.
I watched as Peachland residents arrived at the Summerland arena looking very confused and anxious. The ESS volunteers lead them to the banquet room, gave them warmth, food, comfort and confidence that they would be helped.
People from Summerland and Penticton arrived at the arena ready to volunteer and asking what they could do to help. Local residents offered their homes for people and pets.
The staff at Nesters came to the arena, left and then returned with trays of food. Murray’s and Yaki’s Pizza brought boxes of pizza. ESS from Penticton brought trays of food and drinks. Andrew from Spud Brothers, who runs the arena concession, was first to the arena with food and drinks.
It was such a heart-warming experience to see how a community could pull together to help their neighbours at a time of need. The Peachland residents were so very thankful to have a place to go for information and registration with Emergency Services. Our fire department sent firefighters and equipment to Peachland. Remaining firefighters stayed at the arena to help with the ESS team. The animal rescue team went to Peachland with many Summerland residents and their large animal trailers. When it was safe to open Highway 97, the Provincial ECC decided to send all the Peachland residents to the Reception Centre in West Kelowna and close the Reception Centre in Summerland to make it easier for Peachland residents. Once again it made me very proud to say I am a Summerland resident.
Brenda Ingram is the Programs and Facilities Manager for the District of Summerland and proud to be a long-time resident of this great community.