BC recognizes wildfire, flood volunteers, first responders with new award

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) – British Columbia’s government is looking to recognize people who went out of their way to help when record-breaking wildfires tore through the province this summer.

Premier John Horgan was in Kamloops today where he announced the new “Above and Beyond” awards, which honour those who fought the flames, provided shelter for evacuees, or otherwise helped their community during the crisis.

“Whether it was cooking meals, whether it was opening up their homes,” says Horgan. “Whatever was needed was offered. It was inspiring and that’s what true community is all about.”

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Around 65,000 people were forced from their homes this summer as wildfires scorched more than 12,000 square kilometres, destroying homes and infrastructure in several communities.

“People deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond to help each other,” he adds.

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson says this award is to celebrate those who went out of their way to help, while tens of thousands were displaced and flames ravaged homes and forests.

“When you look at that scale and you realize there were no deaths from the fire and that people, while they faced total adversity, they managed to get along and show resiliency,” says Donaldson.

“The ability to say ‘hey, we all pulled together, and some people were really amazing in their roles’, and we want to make sure that that doesn’t go unrecognized. It’s a time to celebrate now that the season is over.”

People who helped out when floods hit the Okanagan last spring are also eligible for the recognition.

Horgan says the province wants to make sure that 2017 is remembered as a moment when British Columbians came together and supported one another.

Nominations for the award can be made online or by mail, and everyone who is nominated will receive a certificate of distinction, signed by the premier.

Nominations close on Jan. 15, 2018.


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