The Okanagan Forest Task Force’s only means of getting garbage out of the backcountry broke down on Tuesday, April 6. (Kane Blake - Okanagan Forest Task Force)

The Okanagan Forest Task Force’s only means of getting garbage out of the backcountry broke down on Tuesday, April 6. (Kane Blake - Okanagan Forest Task Force)

Okanagan forest cleanup group’s truck repaired free of charge

Okanagan Forest Task Force uses the truck to haul garbage out of the backcountry

Kane Blake was almost in tears recounting his heartbreak after his truck stopped running and wouldn’t start up again last week.

Blake, the founder of the Okanagan Forest Task Force (OFTF), uses the truck for his family’s needs, but most of the time, he and his fellow OFTF volunteers use it to clean up the Okanagan backcountry. The truck helps the group hauls garbage and abandoned vehicles out of wooded areas and sometimes pulls a water tank to extinguish fires.

The OFTF truck stopped working after spending the day hauling abandoned vehicles on April 6. Blake announced on social media that he and the group wouldn’t be able to go back to cleaning up in the backcountry for the foreseeable future because he didn’t have enough money to get the vehicle fixed.

The community quickly rallied behind Blake and OFTF, with several community members organizing fundraisers on Facebook and GoFundMe.

But just as his story made it on the news, Blake said the Kelowna Ford Lincoln dealership got in touch with him.

“The service manager Ken Hiles said, ‘You should bring down your truck to us,’ but I didn’t have money for a tow bill, so he said to me to bill the towing fee to them,” Blake said.

Now, the dealership is taking care of the repair costs, and they’ll get Blake his truck back by the end of the week.

“The service manager told me to keep the donated money and to just use it for the group and the group’s needs,” Blake said.

“My jaw dropped, and I didn’t even know what to say. I just want to thank the entire community, as well as the people who donated and Kelowna Ford Lincoln.”

Blake said he thought OFTF wouldn’t be back cleaning up in the bush until mid-summer, but thanks to the community members who rallied behind him and the group, they’ll be back out in no time.

READ: Okanagan forest cleanup crew in need of donations after truck breaks down


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