Local businesses in Oliver got together to honour and show their appreciation for local firefighters this weekend with a BBQ.
The Black Sage Butcher, Pappa’s Firehall Bistro, South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, Buy-Low Foods in Oliver and Osoyoos and Kevin’s No Frills teamed up to host local firefighters and serve them burgers, beers and live music.
Firefighters from Oliver Fire Department, Okanagan Falls, Willowbrook, and Anarchist Mountain departments all came for a low key appreciation event.
Sid Ruhland Brewmaster with Firehall Brewery said about the event that “we are very happy to be able to offer a show of appreciation for the local firefighters and we were very humbled by just how gracious and appreciative they were in return. Which just goes to show that they are not firefighters for the glory and for thank you presents. It's very obvious that for them it's a commitment to the community.”
Rob Graham, public relations officer with the Oliver Fire Department, expressed just this sentiment, saying “we don't do this going looking for appreciation. When businesses and companies want to do that for us just because, not because we're looking for recognition, that touches us. It just makes us feel appreciated.”
Moments like the Chamber of Commerce putting together care packages are the types of things that are really appreciated, Graham noted.
“We don't respond to these calls looking to get hero recognition. We do this because we all feel a little service, a little giving back to our community. So really our minds and hearts are with being part of the fire department.”
Ravina Johal with the Black Sage Butcher explained that she has really come to appreciate the firefighters and to give them recognition.
“I have lived here for five years and the sad reality is fires are an annual occurrence now and we very much feel the impact on our community . . . they’re heroes, they are keeping us safe and I know how hard they work and the fact that many of them are volunteers. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated for what they do for us. Some of us literally wouldn't be here without them.”
Johal said that she reached out to Ruhland asking if they were going to be doing another event for local firefighters. The Firehall had organized a similar event a few years ago, and Johal wanted to do something this year.
“It was a small way that we could recognize and celebrate the contributions of our local firefighters.”
Black Sage provided all the beef and ran the BBQ station, Pappa's Firehall Bistro provided the fries, Buy-Low Oliver/Osoyoos and No Frills provided the rest of the burger ingredients, and the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce organized care packages provided to the firefighters
The Firehall staff also put together an impromptu band to perform for the firefighters.