Harrison Happenings: Volunteering now and then

Local emergency social services has volunteers at its core

Just recently I finished putting together a manuscript for a souvenir book containing mostly humorous stories about a group of volunteers who, under the umbrella of the HHS Recreation Commission, brought fun, relaxation and honour to the village for more than twenty years. But it was then when I realized that I had not written about the HHS Recreation Commission’s involvement with the Emergency Social Services.

I remember the day when I received a phone call early in the morning to please come to the village office at lunchtime and meet a gentleman from the provincial government. When I arrived, the councillor who had called and the government representative were waiting for me. To make the story short, the implementation of a plan to deal with the social side (i.e. lodging, feeding, etc.) of any emergency that could befall a community, had become mandatory. In dispair, I am sure, the councillor called on me.

I agreed to look into it, a decision I did not make lightly. I knew that I had not only the Recreation Commission behind me but also the experience of having lived through a war with all its implications. But, I also knew that this was not enough and so I paid a visit to Pastor Orlando who was then the pastor of the HHS Gospel Church. He not only agreed to be the spiritual councillor in the event of an emergency, but also gave us permission to use the church’s meeting room and a designated stock room.

It was his and the church’s encouragement that put us on track and it was a very good example of true leadership. I really do not know if we would have succeeded without the help and encouragement of the HHS Gospel Church.

And so for five years volunteers, mostly drafted from the Recreation Commission, met there on a regular basis. And, with the help and education of the provincial government, we put a plan together for Harrison Hot Springs containing all the information needed in case of an emergency.

A plan, however, is only good if it is being revised on a regular basis and this has never been done as far as I know. Unfortunately, it seems to be more and more difficult to find enough volunteers to fill the need. And yet, volunteering for the Emergency Social Services is very fulfilling and interesting. After all, what we learn is of great value, not only for the general public but also for ourselves, our families and neighbours.

In last week’s issue of the Agassiz-Harrison-Hope Observer I spotted an ad looking for an ESS Coordinator for the Kent-Harrison joined program. I hope somebody will get inspired and I also hope that more volunteers will come forward to help with the task. I cannot think of a more worthy cause!

P.S.   Once again I would like to thank the editor, and her staff, for printing all my articles. It is great fun to be in touch with so many people this way and I am looking forward to do it again. For the next four weeks, however, I will be on a vacation – three of them in Germany.

I will tell you all about it when I come back!  Take care!