Hodge: Homeowner faces recovery from West Kelowna house fire

We were reminded of our good fortune when our dear friend lost her home in a fire on Halloween.

Charlie Hodge

It is easy sometimes to forget how fortunate our lives are.

Sadly, it often takes another’s tragedy to shake us into a harsh wake-up call of just how lucky we are.

Tez and I were profoundly reminded of our good fortune Tuesday when learning that our dear friend Irene Barszczewski-Shindelka lost her home in a fire on Halloween.

Barszczewski-Shindelka fortunately managed to escape out her window with assistance from neighbours when her mobile home in West Kelowna caught fire.

David Hillary, 27, along with Lucas Truman risked their lives in helping Irene escape. True heroes.

Irene’s cat also escaped while her beloved dog did not survive.

The horrendous blaze was the subject of much media coverage earlier this week.

She has lost everything.

Words cannot express our empathy and shock for Irene, however, we are confident that her absolutely amazing positive attitude will help her through this devastating time period.

Anyone who has experienced a fire is more than aware of the mind-boggling destruction of such an event, and the energy needed to start over again.

Just more than a year ago Tez and I came within mere minutes of losing our home when an arsonist lit a car on fire in front of our home.

The explosion and fire ball destroyed a second car as well and caught our hedge on fire.

We helplessly watched the inferno plunge towards our home, certain that our house was doomed.

If not for the amazingly quick response of our Kelowna fire department we could have easily experienced the same catastrophe as Irene.

We remain truly thankful for our good fortune, but certainly comprehend the state of terror and panic that Irene must have gone through.

While I am not aware of an assistance fund for Irene, anyone wishing to assist this marvelous woman may do so by contacting me via email at charliehodge333@gmail.com.

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Speaking of being thankful, a reminder to readers to take time next Friday to honour those men and woman who gave up everything for us.

The freedom and joy we share as Canadians living in this wonderful, democratic, and healthy nation would not be ours to celebrate without the millions of lives sacrificed in the two world wars.

Like many others my family tree was chopped apart from death and injuries suffered during both wars.

My mother never really got over the loss of her brother and both my father and grandfather carried physical and mental wounds to their graves because of their experiences.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I will be honoured to attend the service at the Kelowna Cenotaph on Remembrance Day as deputy mayor, laying a wreath on the city’s behalf.

I cannot think of a greater honour. Hope to see you there.

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Speaking of celebrations, the city of Chicago is a happy hopping hub today following Wednesday’s dramatic seventh game win of the World Series.

While not a huge baseball fan, even I tuned into the winner-take-all final game with enthusiasm.

By the 10th inning I was totally captivated.

For Chicago Cub fans, suffice to say it has been an absurdly long time since the last time they celebrated winning the title.

Their last victory parade was back in 1908. Heck, that’s even longer than the last time the Leafs or Canucks won the Stanley Cup.

As happy as I am for Chicago, I admit sharing some sadness for Cleveland Indian fans who came so close.

The Indians have not won the world series title since 1948.

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While the lengthy circus that is the U.S. election will finally come to an end on Tuesday, certainly the campaign rhetoric will carry on.

I believe there is great reason for consternation on the outcome.

While I agree that the choice for president is between two snakes, the key is to pick the one with the least toxic venom.

Make no mistake that both have dubious track records, come from silver-spoon backgrounds, and have little reason to be trusted.

However, I shudder at the thought of the ignorant, insulting, red-neck Donald Trump taking power.

I go as far as to suggest that world peace may hang in the balance and certainly future trade and economic impacts on North America.

If one needs any more evidence of how potentially dangerous the man with the dyed comb-over is consider this white supremacy KKK leader David Duke entered the US Senate race in Louisiana this past week, claiming the support of Trump, who in turn made no effort to deny that support.

Scary stuff.