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

Young Hearts Triathlon

Annual event saw racers of all ages swim, bike, and run their way to a cheering finish line on Saturday, July 13th

Museum presents old time film festival

Series of six films Saturday, July 20th through Sunday, July 21st at museum

Peddling the practice of bikepacking

Growing sport of backcountry biking in the Valley

Balancing aesthetics and affordability in Canal Flats

Canal Flats Council briefs of July 8th

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read