May Volunteer Focus | Emergency ProgramNews Article
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is shining a spotlight on the estimated 300 Emergency Program volunteers. These dedicated individuals donate their time and energy to assist with Emergency Support Service (ESS), Search and Rescue, Amateur Radio Club, and volunteer fire departments.
Many RDOS volunteers are the frontline face of emergencies ranging from wide-spread environmental disasters such as wildfires and floods, to single events like home fires and the search and rescue operations. Across the Regional District, Emergency Program volunteers play a critical role in supporting response activities by providing professional, timely assistance to those in need.
“Volunteering is important to me for a few reasons,” says Naramata ESS Director Judi Harvey. “It helped me connect with the Naramata community after I moved here 21-years ago. I feel I can play an important role in helping residents get the assistance they need during evacuation events.” Osoyoos ESS Director Eileen Varga feels volunteering is important because it makes her feel like she is “helping in a small way to better the community.” Varga says she gets a sense of fulfillment knowing she has “put her best effort into helping others. It helps to provide much needed services to the community.”
Penticton Search and Rescue volunteer Malia Smith enjoys the “perpetual acquisition of challenging and ever-changing skill sets” which she says keeps her motivated and modest. “Volunteering broadens my own community and surrounds me with like-minded and diverse teammates.” For Oliver/Osoyoos Search and Rescue manager Rob Selsing, volunteering provides a sense of comradery “with teammates, fellow search and rescue members and the other people you cross paths with.”
Hayes Creek Fire Chief Rob Miller says volunteering “is community and brings a sense of team and togetherness.” Volunteerism plays a critical role in helping the RDOS support healthy individuals and communities.
For further information about volunteering with the RDOS, please contact Nancy Wigley or visit the RDOS Volunteer Opportunities web page.
Karla Kozakevich, Chair
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
Recreation Manager, Community Services
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Penticton Search and Rescue volunteers participate in a navigation exercise on Campbell Mountain.