Penticton Search and Rescue volunteers, along with other emergency program volunteers, provide assistance during emergencies in the area (Black Press file photo)

South Okanagan emergency volunteers thanked for service

Estimated 300 volunteers provide assistance within Regional District of Okanagan-Similkmaeen

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is applauding its estimated 300 emergency program volunteers.

These volunteers donate their time and energy to assist with Emergency Support Service, Search and Rescue, Amateur Radio Club, and volunteer fire departments.

Many of the volunteers are the frontline face of emergencies ranging from environmental disasters such as wildfires and floods, to single events like home fires and the search and rescue operations.

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“Volunteering is important to me for a few reasons,” said Judi Harvey, Narmata Emergency Support Services director. “It helped me connect with the Naramata community after I moved here 21 years ago.”

Eileen Varga, Osoyoos Emergency Suport Services director said volunteering is important because it makes her feel like she is helping in a small way to better the community. Varga says she gets a sense of fulfillment knowing she has “put her best effort into helping others. It helps to provide much needed services to the community.”

Penticton Search and Rescue volunteer Malia Smith enjoys the “perpetual acquisition of challenging and ever-changing skill sets” which she says keeps her motivated and modest.

“Volunteering broadens my own community and surrounds me with like-minded and diverse teammates,” she said.

Rob Selsing, Oliver/Osoyoos Search and Rescue manager, said volunteering provides a sense of camaraderie “with teammates, fellow search and rescue members and the other people you cross paths with.”

Hayes Creek Fire Chief Rob Miller said volunteering “is community and brings a sense of team and togetherness.”

For further information about volunteering with the regional district, please contact Nancy Wigley or visit the regional district’s Volunteer Opportunities web page at

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