Firefighters dish up lunch

A group of seniors got an extra special lunch Wednesday, served to them by Penticton firefighters and cooked up by Pen High cooking students. 

The free meal was provided to about 50 seniors at the Penticton Seniors' Drop-In Centre, the first time the fire department has provided such a service. 

"We decided that this year, we were going to honour the seniors in our community," said fire department public educator Jody Fortherby. "It was a maiden voyage. It far surpassed what I expected."

Fotherby said everyone was amazed at the quality of food the Grade 9 class had prepared, under the direction of their teacher Chris Garvey. 

"I can't tell you how amazing it was," she said. "Everyone was saying, 'The Grade 9 class did this?'"

During the course of the luncheon, firefighters chatted with the attendees, giving each some one-on-one time, which Fotherby said sometimes resulted in some amusing exchanges. 

"You know how older women are with firefighters!" she said with a chuckle. 

They also played fire safety bingo, which allowed the participants to learn a little about fire prevention and safety while enjoying their food. 

"You know when you come out of an event and you can't stop smiling? It was like that," she said. "It was so humbling."

Fotherby hopes the positive reviews of the experience from the seniors and firefighters alike will mean the event can come back next year, and even grow. 

"Hopefully next year we'll have a bigger crowd!" she said. 

Next up in events for the fire department is Fire Chief for the Day, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Station 202. Elementary students from around Penticton will be competing in a mini firefighter bootcamp and a draw will be held for one lucky winner to be dubbed chief for the day. 

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