West Kelowna firefighters to head on a life changing adventure

West Kelowna Professional Firefighters getting ready for third ​annual Fire in the Mountains trip for individuals with a disability.

West Kelowna Professional Firefighters Local 4457 will again be breaking down barriers  in 2016 with their third ​annual Fire in the Mountains trip for individuals with a disability.

“This years trip is unique in that we will be offering a multi‐day paddling trip to world‐famous Murtle Lake, the largest canoe‐only lake in North America,”  said firefighter Ryan Onyschuk. “Set in the pristine mountain valley of Wells Gray Provincial Park, Murtle Lake will provide us the opportunity to take more than one lucky individual this year on a four-to-five day adventure of a life‐time.”

In the two previous years the union provided a couple of lucky individuals the opportunity to spend three days with their firefighter heroes hiking the Rocky Mountains in Yoho National Park and traversing the ridge lines of Cathedral Provincial Park.

Firefighters step up in a huge way each year by both raising the money required to make the trips possible and providing the manpower and support personnel during the trips.

They team up each year with CRIS Adaptive Adventures out of the Central Okanagan.

“CRIS Adaptive Adventures has been providing these types of excursion for individuals with disabilities for the past years throughout Western Canada. They provide the expertise and guiding to make the trips possible and safe,” said Onyschuk.

Last year’s recipient was Logan Miller an avid outdoor adventurer but due to a rare form of progressive neuro-degenerative disorder his mobility depends on the use of a wheelchair which in turn greatly reduces his access to the wilderness.

“The WKPF donation last year was truly a generous act that provided an unforgettable experience for Logan Miller and his dad. The firefighters’ donation of time and money helps people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, or means to experience such an outdoor adventure,” said CRIS Adaptive Adventures board member Eric Rampone.

The trips have a tremendous impact on a participant’s life, helping to improve mental and physical health, while breaking down social and physical barriers and promoting inclusion for all.

“These experiences have a much greater impact than just the participant chosen. It changes lives and gives hope for many” said Debra Miller, Logan’s mother.

WKPF Captain Nathan Pike noted that you never fully realize the impact of these trips until you volunteer on one.

“It is an amazing feeling to see the smiles and laughs and how content someone can be out in the mountains and fresh air without concern for barriers,” said Pike.

The 2016 trip location, Murtle Lake, provides opportunities to paddle miles of uninhabited pristine shoreline, explore remote waterfalls, access alpine hiking trails only accessible by boat and sleep on peaceful beachfront camping spots.

To apply for the Fire in the Mountains trip with the West Kelowna Professional Firefighters, write a letter about yourself that explains why you would like to participate on this trip and what it would mean to you.

Application have to be received by March 15  at the CRIS Adaptive Adventures office (PO Box #25141 Mission Park PO Kelowna BC V1W 3Y7)

For more information on how to apply, or to find out how to get involved in similar trips as a participant or sponsor visit ​www.adaptiveadventures.ca​, call 250-979-3941 or email general@coreinso.com​.