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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about leaving Ashcroft and the personal toll of the Maui fire

Dear Editor,

It is with a sad heart that I say goodbye to the wonderful people, and my friends, in Ashcroft.

Lee and I arrived in Ashcroft from Burns Lake in 1986, and received a very warm welcome, and over the years made many friends.

In May of 2023, life changed. Lee left for a place in Heaven, a loss I would never wish on anyone.

Over the 37 years we called Ashcroft home, we met so many wonderful people. Many went out of their way to make our life so very pleasant. A special group, the Friday Night Dinner Gang as I called them, will hold a spot in my heart until the day I join Lee.

On behalf of Lee and myself, thank you, Ashcroft. You gave us a wonderful time; time I will hold dear forever.

For those passing through Olds, Alberta, stop at Mountain View Seniors’ Lodge and say hi.

Goodbye, Monty and Vivian and the Friday Night Dinner Gang.

Gordon Berdan

Olds, Alberta

Dear Editor,

My daughter’s call came around noon Maui time. I was just preparing to take my usual lie-down nap, but Nadine’s voice was a shock. The tone was one I had never heard before. “You will hear the news that Lahaina has burned to the ground but we are safe. The kids are safe, they are with their mom in Kula.”

To anyone who has experienced the sudden reality that leaves you stunned, unable to speak, the safety of loved ones is the first thing that comes to mind. And Nadine knew this. “I’m okay. But I’ve lost everything.” Nadine meant of course her home, her personal collection of paintings, everything that was precious. I had sent Nadine family photos in batches. They are gone. Still, even these precious histories of family going back two generations are not altogether gone. They are in the computer. And Nadine was able to flee her home safely.

Nadine and others on Maui will be applying for aid from FEMA. Still, the aftermath of Lahaina’s destruction is harrowing. Nadine thinks the news is worse than reported. She has lost friends in the fire, and reports that many persons are not accounted for. I watched several American stations to get the fullest picture of Lahaina possible. The information reported seems completely out of sync with reality.

The fire of 2017 here brought statistics both alarming and worrying. Will it happen again? To assume it won’t is not good. The emotional toll on my family and so many others on Maui is not one that we can ignore. Lytton, Squilax, Kelowna, and the communities up north with so much loss of property, livestock, life. It is time that we gave thought to the future of forest management. To flood management.

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft, B.C.