BC blazes cool and army reservists head back to their day jobs

Every soldier on the fire lines volunteered to come

High school teachers, business owners, paramedics, students – they are people from all walks of life.

Also, they are soldiers.

The 150 army personnel who occupied a camp in Princeton this week – assigned to back up BC Wildfire Service and provide mop up for the Cool Creek fire – are reservists.

And they volunteered to come.

“They give up their jobs. They go away from their families. Some of them, they use their holiday pay to go help out,” said spokesman Graeme Kaine. “It sounds hokey, but there are still a lot of people that just want to help.”

Related: Military marches into Princeton BC and lends hand to firefighters

There are approximately 1,500 army reserve members in British Columbia, making up one of three Western Canada brigades, explained Kaine.

When the provincial government made its official request for assistance a call was put out to all members, and they travelled from as a far away as Thunder Bay, Ontario to respond.

They got here by bus, some of them spending two days on the road.

“I think it’s just great when all these people across Western Canada come to support us, as we would do for them,” said Kaine.

Reservists take the same basic training as regular forces, and they are paid. They are required to work at least one day a week, and one weekend a month, and they can choose to accept or decline deployment.

According to Kaine the reserve units offer a unique compliment to the regular service, as they are populated by men and women with varied and often non-military backgrounds.

Major Vincent Virk was the Officer Commanding [OC] of the Princeton camp, which was named Camp Allison after a soldier from Princeton’s founding family who died in the First World War.

Virk is from North Vancouver and Osoyoos, where he owns a business. He has been in the service for 16 years. “I do this just because I wanted to do something for my country, and to give back a little,” he told The Spotlight. ” I wanted to do it and I just love it, and I love the people I’m working with. We always love a challenge.”

Private Bennett, from North Saskatchewan, had just finished his basic training when he learned of the request for assistance.

“As soon as my sergeant asked me I immediately said yes, along with two fellow reservists from my unit. We’ve just been having a great time out here helping the people of British Columbia.”

At least two of the army boots on the ground fighting fires in the past week were very familiar with the terrain.

Sabrina Boechler is a full-time paramedic in Vancouver, who started her career in Princeton and lived here for two years.

“It’s really nice to get back to the community I started in and help them out.”

While Camp Allison was expected to run for two to three weeks, after just eight days BC Wildfire had situations enough under control so that the reservists could go back to their day jobs.

“Everyone back at work Monday morning,” said Kaine.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Duncan city council declares climate change emergency

“I think sometimes it’s important to start with identifying the fact that something’s real.”

Andrea Rondeau column: Second chance for dogs in Duncan bylaw a good idea

I’m not usually timid around animals, big or small.

Drivesmart column: Electronic monitoring pilot projects already underway

Our current system of trying to change driver behaviour largely consists of traffic tickets

Robert Barron column: Hats off to humanitarian workers

Saurazas didn’t seem to be fazed very much by the peril she was exposed to

Cowichan Valley jazz graduate wins prestigious scholarship

Bassist Brock Meades and drummer Graham Villette get $2,000 Fraser MacPherson Scholarship

Duncan Grande Parade draws a crowd

Entries old and new enjoyed by a big audience

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read