Rocky Mountain Rangers Lend a Hand
Prince George, B.C. – Reservists in Prince George have been busy chipping in with the wildfire relief effort in Williams Lake.
Capt. Mike Oviatt, commanding officer with the Rocky Mountain Rangers “B” Company – says eight of his men have already answered the call for help.
He says the request for assistance came from the provincial government after the state of emergency was declared last month.
Two of his men – Cpls Kyle Limoges and Brendan Readman – were the first to head south and stayed around two weeks (six days in Williams Lake and another 10 of training in Chilliwack).
They performed a variety of duties including manning and observing report checkpoints with the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces and handling some support tasks like ensuring everyone had food and water.
Cpl. Readman says the most fulfilling task though was checking on properties under evacuation orders.
“I’d pop in a vehicle and go check for them (property owners). Let them know all their things were there. That their property was safe and they appreciated it.
Cpl. Limoges says it was his first deployment after six-and-a-half years in the reserves and “a learning experience for sure.” It was the second for Cpl. Readman – the first being a search and rescue mission in New Brunswick.
Oviatt says it’s worth noting reservists are volunteers and commonly involves some sort of personal sacrifice for the common good.
“Absolutely. We’ve got a guy down in Williams Lake right now who is burning all his vacation time to be there. Another burned three weeks of personal vacation time to do so,” he says.
“A lot of people are having to cancel other plans later in the year because their province needs them and they answer the call.”
Cpl. Limoges – a corrections officer by profession – says legislation ensures their jobs are safe though their employers don’t pay them while away and the army salary he’s earning is slightly less then what he normally makes.
So, why does he do it?
“I’m not in it for the money. I do it to help out.”