The Volunteer Fire Departments in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Loon Lake each received a $12,000 donation from B.C. and Alberta Lions Clubs on October 20; but Ashcroft fire chief Josh White prefers to think of it as a gift.
“It means a lot,” he says. “It’s a wonderful gift, and a remarkable thing. The Lions are just an incredible bunch of people.”
Cache Creek fire chief Tom Moe says that the Lions have always been a great source of support for the department, whether it be donating smoke alarms for the elderly or putting on an appreciation barbecue for first responders. “But this time they have gone above and beyond. The Lions bring a great community service to the table, and they should all be proud of what they do and achieve.
Vivian Edwards, secretary of the Ashcroft and District Lions Club, says they were contacted by the Mt. Cheam Lions Club in Chilliwack shortly after the Elephant Hill wildfire started in July. “They decided to raise money at a casino for fire victims in our area, and picked our Lions group to contact.
“Lots of B.C. Lions donated to Fort McMurray after the fire there last year, so Lions clubs there donated to the Alberta Lions Foundation, who passed the money on to Mt. Cheam, where it was held in trust. The money just kept growing and growing.”
When the funds were tallied, the Mt. Cheam Lions had raised $7,406.45, the Steller’s Jay Lions Club in Chilliwack had raised $500, and 18 Alberta clubs had raised $23,090 for the Alberta Lions Foundation. The Ashcroft and District Lions Club added $5,003, of which $500 came from the Logan Lake Lions Club.
“I’m really glad our club donated a big chunk of the funds,” says Edwards, noting that two of the club’s major fundraising events—the golf tournament and the Fall Fair—were both cancelled this year. “Our club held a barbecue to thank the first responders in Cache Creek and Ashcroft, and raised more than $2,000. The balance of our donation comes from money we raised by holding a pancake breakfast in May and a barbecue at the movie night in Ashcroft this summer.
“A lot of our club members were evacuated, so we couldn’t do much at the time. We did donate $500 to the Legion.
“We had several meetings, and discussed what to do with the money,” she adds. “We talked about giving it to wildfire victims, but that would only amount to about $100 a family. We thought a better use was to give it to the three fire halls. If they’re better equipped, they’ll be able to help everyone.”
Moe thanks the Lions clubs for their generous donations to local fire departments, and says that the Cache Creek fire department has a few ideas about where to apply the funds.
“Our department is in the long process of replacing our oldest engine, which is now 49 years old,” he says. “This donation will help offset some of the costs associated with the outfitting of the new truck, such as purchasing hose, tools, and other equipment. Due to the fact that the landfill has been closed, this proposal has been sidelined, but not forgotten, because of reduced revenues to the village.”
White says that his department hasn’t yet decided where to direct the funds. “We don’t know yet where to put it to. Training is one option, and another is a thermal imaging camera for the new engine. We have to have an association meeting, and sit down and think about what to do with this. But we’ll spend every penny as wisely as we can.”
“I’d like to thank the Lions again for all that they do, not just for us, but for our communities,” says Moe. “I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful organization in our midst.”