Big pat on the back for Kamloops from the Williams Lake Indian Band - InfoNews.ca

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Big pat on the back for Kamloops from the Williams Lake Indian Band

Volunteers put away food after a lunch service at the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Powwow grounds for B.C. Wildfire evacuees back on July 14, 2017.
September 19, 2017 - 5:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Being evacuated during this past summer was extremely difficult for thousands of people across the province, and those from the Williams Lake Indian Band are pointing to the kindness from the people of Kamloops as something that helped get them through it.

Band chief Ann Louie recently sent a letter to Kamloops council thanking them and the city for helping them get through those tough times.

"We have heard from many of our members who evacuated to Kamloops, that stores gave discounts, restaurants gave free meals and various organizations provided other resources," Louie says in the letter. "This support significantly aided our people during this stressful and trying time."

Willie Sellars, a councillor for the Williams Lake Band, says they expected to get help from the province and emergency service providers, but what they saw from Kamloops residents was nothing short of spectacular.

"We had a number of evacuees go to Kamloops, not only because it was close to our community, but also because of family reasons," Sellars says. "What we didn't anticipate was the amount of support we got from the city of Kamloops and we are truly thankful for that.

"Band members are reporting back to us (about) the kindness, not only from the storefronts, but the people of Kamloops themselves. It's really just overwhelming to think of how much support is out there and how the community did come together in such a disastrous time," he says.

Acting Chief Heather McKenzie was among the band members evacuated to Kamloops. She says the council felt it was important to provide a letter of appreciation to the citizens because they know the city and its residents did so much more than was necessary.

"A great deal of businesses welcomed us in and whether they gave us free meals or they provided discounts, they just went above and beyond," she says. "So we just wanted the residents to be appreciated through the word of city council and we felt that would be the best way to reach out."

McKenzie adds several families came to Kamloops without any necessities and even though emergency support services were in place, it would have been extremely tough without the help of Kamloops residents.

"It's just like one day we were living a normal life and then we're pulled into this outrageous fire that was right in our backyard," she says.

The letter that council received will now be circulated throughout city hall and to all the emergency service providers in town who helped in the effort.

For more on B.C. wildfires and evacuations, go here.


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