Firefighters, Ambulance Paramedics Donate to Honour House
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George firefighters and ambulance paramedics have teamed up to make a generous donation to Honour House in New Westminster.
The two groups of first responders held a big gala fundraiser and silent auction at the Treasure Cove Casino Saturday night that raised $24,000 for the Honour House Society. It’s a home away from home for Canadian Forces members, emergency services personnel and their families to stay while receiving medical care and treatment in Vancouver.
Society President Allan De Genova says “the money presented today is significant and virtually 100 cents of every dollar will go right into keeping Honour House up and running. Our men and women who come there stay at no cost for as long as they need. Police, fire, ambulance, our Canadian Forces, all frontline serving members and/or their families.”
He says the society is now debt-free. “We’ve paid off our debt for the entire home, which is a 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom home. We sit on 11,000 square feet of house, so a lot of space, but to keep that size of house up we have 73 volunteers. We’ve been operating now just over 5 years and we just hit our 5-thousand night stay, so its heavily used and we feel really good about that to say thank you for what our men and women do each and every day.”
De Genova says Honour House primarily serves forces members and first responder from British Columbia but adds “we’re finding now they’re coming from across the country because of the kinds of services that we offer at Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul’s.”
“From Prince George we’ve had many from fire, ambulance, RCMP stay at the house over the last few months, so its great to know that we’re serving people from all around the province.”
De Genova says Honour House has an annual operating budget of about $120,000 which covers one paid staff member, a part-time employee and house expenses such as heat and electricity. “For the size of the home and the amount of people who go through that home we find that we’re stretching that nickel literally to a dollar in cost. Most operations of this size would be double that. So because of the volunteer help that we have and everything being donated to the home our operating costs are quite low.”
And he says this $24,000 donation is unbelievable. “It operates us for almost a quarter of our whole year, it’s huge, it’s absolutely huge.”
“It carries us through and gives us a chance to expand with Honour Ranch up and running in Kamloops. That’s a facility where we’ll be able to treat our men and women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Honour House is a home away from home while they’re getting the treatment, Honour Ranch, which opened October 21st but will be fully running by late this summer, is on 25 acres and will have eight little cottages where we’ll be able to run a program for any frontline service men and women in this province that feel they need help for PTSD.”