Shane Gunn and Darcy Foster grew up in 108 Mile Ranch. Gunn’s parent’s even lived on Block Drive, the road where two houses in the 108 were destroyed due to flames.
“It burned right up to mine and my partner Darcy’s parent’s house — right to the wall — so that was a big impact,” says Gunn.
The two locals got together to come up with an idea to fundraise for the community.
“I’ve seen the devastation caused by fires before. I was a fire fighter for 11 years and was down in the Okanagan in 2003 for the big Okanagan Park fire. I’ve seen the burnt out cars and ashes so that had a profound impact on me, so I just thought this would be a good way to give back,” says Gunn.
Foster and Gunn worked together to come up with a logo and design for T-shirts and decals, which are now on sale in the area.
“Everybody loves T-shirts and just thought it would be a good idea and an easy way to generate some funds,” says Gunn.
The logo contains the words “Cariboo-Chilcotin Wildfires” with the hashtag #cariboostrong below imagery of a water bomber, a helicopter with a bucket, tractors and transport trucks amid trees, and is crowned with two fire-fighting axes.
“It was a collaborative effort,” says Gunn. “Darcy and I came up with some ideas in terms of wanting to have a fire ground kind of scene and some of the equipment is just taken right out of the logos for local contractors.”
They had a graphic designer design the crest.
The T-shirts will be on sale on Aug. 11 at the South Cariboo Farmers’ Market, Save-On-Foods and Jackson’s Social Club and are on sale throughout the week at Jackson’s Social Club, the Outlaw, and the Iron Horse Pub and Grill, in Williams Lake at Schickworks or online via www.bcwildfiret shirts.com.
The proceeds will be split 50-50 between the Red Cross and local fire departments.
Gunn says he is hoping to have the funds earmarked for interface firefighting equipment such as trailers filled with sprinklers, hose and pumps to assist departments in saving homes.
When the Free Press last spoke to Gunn and Foster, sales had already raised over $60,000.
Gunn says he expects sales to go into the fall, as long as demand exists for them.
“We just want to get this done and out there while the fire is hot, so to speak, just because people jump onto this. They want to show support, they want to show their community pride and wear a shirt that shows what the whole region, the whole community, is going through.”
Gunn says they wanted to give back to the community through the shirt sales.
“We’re really appreciative of everything everybody has done, from these logging contractors to the forest firefighters and municipal firefighters, our politicians and all of that. We’re just trying to show our support to them and to the community by doing this and raising some funds to give back.”