First responders recognized during gala evening

When Nancy and Pat Harris along with Rose and Bruce Perrin purchased a tree at the 2017 Festival of Trees, designed and created by the Coast Inn of the North, they saw beyond the tree itself, to what was “under the tree.”

Coast Hotels provided, as part of the tree, the opportunity to sponsor a First Responders Gala, which was held this week in Prince George.

The gala was partly due to the response to the fires that ravaged the Cariboo area last summer and saw over 10,000 evacuees making Prince George their home for close to eight weeks. It also was in recognition of the work they do on a regular basis.

Wednesday night first responders from many different organizations, both career and volunteer, were invited to attend a dinner to be recognized as our hometown heroes.

“Whether you are paid staff or volunteer, whether it is your career or what you do in your spare time, what everyone has in common tonight is that all of you deserve to be thanked for what you do,” said Judy Neiser, CEO for Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation and master of ceremonies for the evening. She went on to relay the story of how the tree was so generously bid on and purchased at the 2017 Festival of Trees hosted by the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation annually. The dollars raised through this event fund state of the art equipment throughout the region and make a difference over and above what the provincial medical system can provide.

“The generosity from this event together with the donors, sponsors and supporters throughout the year is why Spirit of the North is able to provide equipment, education, and enhancements to healthcare throughout the region,” she said.

Also on hand to provide their appreciation were Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris, Art Kaehn Director chair of the Fraser-Fort George Regional District board and Mayor Lyn Hall, all who expressed appreciation to everyone for their bravery and strength in how they approach their role in the community.

“The event was everything I had hoped it would be,” said Rose Perrin, “I think it is the start of something really important to continue and I can’t thank the Coast Hotels and Spirit of the North enough for how this came together, everyone is really having a great time and they deserve to.”