It was a long wait for well-deserved recognition.
Earlier this month saw the post-Covid return of the annual First Responders Dinner, hosted by the Princeton Legion.
Members of BC Ambulance Service, Emergency Support Services, Princeton Ground Search and Rescue and Highway Rescue, volunteer firefighters from East Gate, Erris, Hayes Creek, Princeton and Tulameen and District, along with the RCMP, were honoured for their service.
The assemblage was welcomed by Legion Chaplin Sandra Lawlor, and addresses were made by Legion representatives and local politicians.
MP Dan Albas said the First Responders Dinner is one of his favourite events of the year.
He said he reflected on the gathering especially on Family Day in February, when most of his constituents were enjoying a three-day weekend.
“Paid or volunteer (first responders) don’t have a family day.”
Bob Coyne, regional district representative for Area H, said recently someone empathized with the landscape’s challenges during emergencies, remotely located and away from urban services.
“He said ‘you are out there waiting for the Calvary to come.’ I told this guy he hadn’t met the people in this room because you are the Calvary.”
Spencer Coyne, Princeton mayor, echoed the sentiment.
When speaking at forums and events around the province about emergency response, particularly following the November 2021 flood, he said he’s often told “’I wish we had what you have,’ and they don’t have what we have because we have you.”
Before dinner Lawlor led a prayer for first responders.
Dear Heavenly Father.
We ask that you lend your strength to all those who are there for us in times of crisis, fear and hurt.
We ask that you give courage to the first responders who continue to do the important work that they are called to do, looking beyond the risk of themselves for the sake of those who are in need.
We ask that you extend your shielding hand over them and comfort their hearts when they are tired and heartbroken.
We also ask for thanksgiving and comfort for the families of first responders and all who support them.
Please bless the many hands that prepared our meal today and continue to encourage us to be ever mindful of the needs of others.
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