Vendors filled the parking lot and the community hall at McLeese Lake on Mother’s Day, welcoming a flood of visitors to raise funds for the local volunteer fire department.
There was a flea market outside, a craft market inside, with breakfast and lunch served by donation to the crowd. There were door prizes, vendor prizes and live music, with guests from as far away as Kelowna.
“The response today was absolutely excellent. I was so impressed with the turnout today – both the vendors and visitors,” said McLeese Lake fire chief Nick Dube. “This flea market fundraiser today was pulled together by the volunteer fire fighters’ girlfriends and wives. They created a fundraising committee that helps us out, giving us the time to work on our training,” he stated, adding that the breakfast was prepared and served by the McLeese Lake recreation commission for Mother’s Day, organized by Howie Chamberlin.
Fire fighter Ian Hicks, who manned the BBQ for lunch, said that he served more than 200 burgers and ran out of hot dogs.
The McLeese Lake volunteer fire department has 15 practicing members trained to respond to a fire, according to Dube, who said that at any given time there are five members on standby in case of an emergency. “We’re raising money for our first responder training and insurance on the vehicles, and also trying to raise money for a building. This is one thing we’re short on our here. We have a fire truck and a quick response truck, winterized and ready to go at any time to respond to a fire, giving us the flexibility to get to a fire within minutes of being called.
“I lost my own house to a fire — having a fire department give you extra confidence knowing that if there is an incident, we have the structure in place to keep it going to our neighbour’s house, or to the forest where a fire can cause even more trauma,” he continued.
“The first responder training will give us the ability to provide basic first aid when we arrive on a scene and there may be an injury. Ours is a very close-knit community: very family focused. It’s so important to have a fire department with first responder training in a community like this.”