This Kelowna couple collects empties in backcountry to boost search and rescue fundraising efforts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This Kelowna couple collects empties in backcountry to boost search and rescue fundraising efforts

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz are pictured in this undated photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

In their third year of collecting empties out of the B.C. wilderness, Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz have found a gold mine near their home.

By spending eight weeks this past summer patrolling the 201 Forest Service Road on their ATV, they were able to more than double their haul from previous years by picking up 32,000 empty cans.

They converted those cans into a $3,200 donation to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.

“They are some of the most generous supporters we have,” search and rescue president Dan Schlosser said in a news release. “We rely on fundraising to stay fully operational and this certainly helps.”

The couple started their clean-up efforts in 2018 when they donated $700 after collecting 8,000 cans. That story went viral and so their collection efforts were boosted by donations to 20,000 cans that resulted in an $1,800 donation last year. Their three-year total now stands at $5,700.

They spent eight weeks this summer travelling the 80 kilometres from the Idabel Lake turnoff to Okanagan Falls on the 201 Forest Service Road. Every time they saw a beer can, Imbeau would spear it and put it in a bag.

“Bud Light and Old Milwaukee seem to be the most popular beverages of backcountry slobs,” Kitz said in the news release. “But we're seeing more craft beer. We even found a can for a garlic and basil beer. I mean, what?”

Over the past three years they’ve travelled 25,000 kilometres on their ATV collecting empty cans.

This year’s haul would stretch almost three kilometres, if laid end to end.

The search and rescue group used the money to buy a TrailRider wheeled chair to transport people they rescue out of the bush when they can’t walk but don’t need a stretcher.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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