Dear Editor:

Once again, while citizens sleep, eat, work and play, members of the Windermere Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) are out there saving lives.

Along with other volunteer kayaks and boats, each year I volunteer my personal services (and boat) as a trained lifeguard for the swim portion of the Heart of the Rockies Triathlon which was held last weekend. Members of the WVFD were also out early on a Sunday morning in their search and rescue boat, in the rain, in support of this event. This year they rescued not one but two people in trouble in water well over the swimmers heads. These people were quickly spotted and pulled from the lake into the rescue boat. Speaking as a lifeguard I can absolutely state that these were two potential deaths.

This is same service organization that saved my son-in-laws life on the ice on Boxing Day. Thats three lives saved by this excellent team in less than seven months, and who knows how many other lives have also been saved in that time.

Aside from recognizing their fine service, I have another important point to make. WVFD is the designated first responder for incidents, year-round on Lake Windermere. Thank goodness they have a boat.

What they dont have is an approved vehicle for winter ice rescues. Their only approved means of access to people in trouble or lost on the Whiteway or elsewhere on the ice is on foot.

Recently I initiated, and teamed with a local organization to apply for grant funding for a hovercraft for the WVFD to further minimize or prevent loss of life. It was declined. We were only looking for $65,000 for a unit of minimal but adequate capacity. My son-in-laws life would surely have been worth this amount of money.

I am reaching out to the community for assistance in raising these funds before this coming winter. Heres how you can help: make a substantial personal donation, obtain a donation from a business, assist me in applying for various grant monies available, approach your service club. I am guessing that there is someone actually reading this letter who could donate the entire amount and call it a rounding error in their books.

But most of all, please go out of your way to thank this team. Perhaps drop in to the hall and thank Jim Miller, Fire Chief, for all they do. They have training nights: how about dropping off some treats they can munch on or drink? But at the very least, thank them.

As I write this, they have been working all night in Fairmont, assisting people in need due to the mudslide and are still there right now. They save lives. One day they may save yours, or your family members lives.

Think about it. Lets get them that critically needed winter search and rescue vehicle! Time is running out! I can be reached at or 250-341-5038.

Danny Osborne