The 4th Annual Kelowna Capital News Community Leader Awards was held at Okanagan College, Oct. 23, 2017. Leaders are nominated from the community and a board of community members selects the winners.
Kelowna residents are all too familiar with the work done by this community’s Emergency Support Service Volunteers.
In May, the dedicated men and women behind the provincial program hit the ground running when creek and lake water rose to unprecedented levels, forcing those who lived in nearby houses to evacuate.
The Emergency Support Services group was the winner of the Emergency Services category at the 2017 Community Leader Awards.
“The entire month our volunteers were at the reception centre assisting the evacuees with food, clothing and lodging,” said Beryl Itani, who nominated local members of the organization.
They didn’t get much time to pause once waters subsided, either.
By July the worst fire season in B.C.’s history got underway, and an estimated 1,600 evacuees from the Cariboo started to descend on the valley in need of services.
Meeting their needs was hard enough, but then there were the evacuees from the Truswell Road apartment fire and then wildfires in Lake Country and Joe Rich.
“It’s been a difficult summer in the Okanagan,” said Catherine Williams, ESS director, while in the thick of things this summer.
“The hotels are tight with all that’s going on, but we will find a place for them to go and make sure they have meal vouchers and clothing.”
It’s that “24/7 and 365 days a year” dedication that Itani said is what makes this organization such an amazing resource that deserves the praise of the community.