More than 600 cobs of corn were donated by a single farmer to people affected by the Bush Creek East wildfire.
Forrest Shuster is owner-operator of the corn and pumpkin operations at Destiny Acres Farm in Sorrento.
A Shuswap Emergency Program volunteer, Bill Crozier, drove into the farmyard in August pulling an Emergency Social Services trailer, something Shuster says was fortuitous.
“He asked about the possibility of a donation,” says Crozier.
Sales had been greatly reduced by the Trans-Canada Highway closure and lack of tourists, meaning Shuster was left with a lot of corn.
“He showed up at the right time with the right question.”
Crozier, a retired RCMP member, has volunteered with the SEP’s Emergency Social Services for 14 years. He says he was impressed to find bags of corn ready for distribution when he returned to Destiny Acres two days later.
Shuster picked almost all of the corn himself as he had sent his workers home when the wildfire jumped the highway on Aug. 18. His young niece and nephew helped him bag the corn, which was transported to the North Shuswap.
Crozier delivered 500 cobs to Lakeview Centre in Anglemont, with 100 set aside for Seymour Arm. He then drove to St. Ives and left 100 for that community.
Crozier says he was impressed by the Angelmont volunteers who continued to cook for firefighters at Lakeview Centre despite being without power.
Cozier spoke to a man who’d been a firefighter and lost everything in the fire. The man said his glass was still half full because nobody had lost their life in the fire.
“When I retired from the force, my view of humanity was quite shaded,” says Cozier. “It’s a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to reinstate my faith in humanity, in that it brings the community together.”
Now the corn season has ended, Shuster has begun focusing on his annual pumpkin patch, which is expected to open in time for Thanksgiving.
Shuster began growing and selling sweet corn 11 years ago from a wheelbarrow. He now tends to about 100,000 cobs on seven acres.