We were all up in Campbell River last weekend for a swim meet. One of our team dads, Mike, is a tree faller and he was keeping us updated on the fires breaking out all over the province. He knew that sooner or later he’d get called to pitch in.
The blue blue sky in Campbell River on Saturday changed to a dingy grey haze as the smoke from the Sproat Lake fire reached us.1 Sunday, after the meet was over, we headed down Island, our eyes starting to burn as we drove through Cedar, where a 10-acre wildfire had broken out earlier in the week. We arrived home, unpacked, showered, and settled in for the night. The B.C. fires were all over the news; the count was reaching 200.
Mike, however, wasn’t home even an hour when he learned he was needed on the Sunshine Coast. He packed up again and arrived in Sechelt that same night. His wife was understandably worried, especially since a tree faller had been killed fighting that same fire only the day before.
She kept an eye on the social media sites, in particular the Sechelt Forest Fire group on Facebook. She inquired on the site where in town the crew could get an early breakfast, as nothing was open at 5 a.m before they started their day.
Within hours, Selina August, a member of the Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nation, had organized not only full breakfasts for everyone out there risking their lives to battle the blaze, but basic amenities like laundry services too. Soon the entire community was rallying together and donations were pouring in: food and prep for late-night dinners, gift cards for grocery stores, toiletries, even clean socks.
I loved hearing this story.2 It reminded me that heroes aren’t only found in books. Heroes are all around us, people like Mike, Selina, and the residents of Sechelt, willing to jump in and just do what needs doing.
Take the time today to thank someone in your world who is making a difference.
Better yet, be that someone.
Bonus feature: Children’s author Jarrett Krosoczka talks about his hero, the Lunch Lady.