Communities near Anahim Lake in Service Area 17 will now have the reassurance of knowing that they are better prepared for forest fire season thanks in large part to Dawson Road Maintenance’s generosity.

Last year it was hard to find a community in our beautiful province that wasn’t significantly impacted by one of the worst forest fire seasons in memory. Anahim Lake and its surrounding communities were one of the locations surrounded by forest fires and their remoteness limited their ability to keep others safe. Help was not around the corner, as the nearest fire halls were in Bella Coola (134.5-kilometres away) and Williams Lake (318.5 km away).

Help will be dispatched much quicker from now on, as plans are in place for the creation of the Anahim Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Last week, a silent auction and fundraiser at the Anahim Lake Community Hall brought in more than $17,000 for the new program.

“It was a great event. The community is really excited about this project and a lot of people were really impressed with the generosity of Dawson Road Maintenance,” said Tolin Pare, a Road Foreman.

More than 130 locals attended, as DRM’s items for bid drew the most interest and raised the most money.

During an internal employee recognition program this winter, Myles Carley (Machine Operator) was recognized as one of two employees who gave back the most to their community in 2023. For his efforts, Carley was gifted a $500 cheque to give to a non-profit of his choosing (he donated the money to the Anahim Lake Community Association) and a trip to the Williams Lake Stampede, which included two tickets to the Friday and Saturday night shows at the Williams Lake Stampede, along with one night’s stay in town. He quickly offered up his Stampede package for the auction and it was the highest bid item.

“Employee recognition is very important to us at Dawson and we were very pleased with Myles’ nomination and win of this year’s Community Impact Award. We are not surprised that Myles took this award package and donated it to a cause to raise even more money for his local community. This really highlights his character and his willingness to put others’ interests ahead of his own. We are all very proud of Myles for his relentless work in the community,” said Nicole McIntyre, Director of Human Resources and Communications.

Myles Carley (right) donating $500 to the Anahim Lake Community Association

DRM also contributed a pair of five-hour donations for a grader and operator to the silent auction. Both certificates were highly sought after and went to the same gentleman, who lives just outside of town. He informed DRM that he is eagerly looking forward to assistance with cleaning his ditches and maintaining his gravel road.

The fundraiser also featured an evening of games, with the money going towards the fire hall. Those that couldn’t attend are still sending in donations, as the funds continue to rise.

The majority of the funds will go towards the foundation and civil works of the new hall. A 30-foot by 70-foot steel building was donated to the Community Association from an old, nearby mill and will serve as the new fire hall structure. Other supplies such as fire trucks (two), hoses and plenty of other necessary firefighting safety gear have been donated by other communities and businesses.

As of last count, 34 volunteers have signed up to join the new department, including Pare, Carley and fellow DRM employee Paul Christian (Machine Operator). From now until the opening of the fire hall this summer, all of the volunteer fire fighters have plenty of safety and educational courses to complete to prepare them as much as possible for the unpredictable nature of forest fires.

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