While they’re still counting, 100 Mile House & District Emergency Social Services (ESS) helped over 4,000 people from 27 communities, says Director Liz Jones.
“That doesn’t include the amount of visits,” she says with a laugh. “Hopefully by next week, we’ll have an idea of how many visits we’ve had and a final thing on the volunteer hours.”
The year for ESS ends in November, meaning they’re now heading into their ninth year.
“It’s been a challenge. This was our eighth year. It was exciting. It was painful in some ways and it was a huge growing experience for us. It proved that we knew our stuff. We knew what we were doing and with very few people we did an amazing amount of work.”
The 100 Mile ESS team was acknowledged at a conference in Victoria last week, says Jones.
“I think that 100 Mile can be really really proud of the ESS team,” she says. “I’m so proud of the volunteers that stepped up at the very beginning when they were evacuated themselves. They stayed and worked for the community and as things changed and other people came back from where they had been evacuated to, they came forward and picked up the game and continued on with us.”
Many of the ESS volunteers in the smaller communities haven’t been acknowledged for all the work that they have done, says Jones.
“All the small towns across the province were dealing with the same thing that 100 Mile was but not maybe to the same extent. They were also working hard keeping people many of 100 Mile residents safe and getting them services. People from 100 Mile went literally all across the country. Campbell River looked after a large number of our evacuees,” she says. “Lots of places on Vancouver Island, Quadra Island. We had people in Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Yukon, all across B.C., Alberta, Sachatewan. Some went as far aways as Newfoundland and they all had contact with some kind of emergency service where they were and I think it’s really important to recognize those places as well.”
100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall had plenty of praise for the team.
“Our ESS, who could have asked for a better team than those guys … Liz and her team were just absolutely amazing and I say her team because they all just jumped in and just went for it. That was probably the hardest thing we had to deal with; ESS was overextended by eons. It was absolutely crazy the amount that they were overextended and yet those are volunteers and then they just, you know as we say pull up their socks and went with it and that’s what they did.”