From the Fernie Fix

Committed to safety while on and off the job, North Coal is proud to support Elk Valley Air Search and Rescue Association (EVASARA) with a $5000 donation for their plane and hanger purchase. North Coal employees live, work, and play in the Elk Valley, and one ever knows when they will need the help of search and rescue. “This program speaks to things we value at North Coal. Planning, preparedness and safety. EVASARA is preparing for any event, any time of year that they are called upon with these purchases. And, it is comforting to know that they will be ready to help anyone in need across the Elk Valley,” says John Pumphrey, president of North Coal.

EVASARA operates from the Alberta border across the Elk Valley and Flathead to Montana. The 12 dedicated volunteers are on call 24/7. The association has been operating since 2012 to serve travelling and recreating public. EVASARA is also the Sparwood unit of the national Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. It was launched with the support of Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford Ground Search and Rescue organizations and continues to work collaboratively with ground search and rescue operations and the RCMP.

During the floods of 2013, EVASARA was key to sweeping the Elk Valley north of Elkford when the roads were impassable. EVASARA was able to confirm that no one was stranded and took many pictures that confirmed which bridges had been washed away and the status of other buildings and homes. Looking forward, EVASARA will partner with Angel Flight East Kootenay to assist people in getting to Kelowna for medical appointments and treatment.

Brent Bidston, President of EVASARA, said “Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, the Columbia Basin Trust and BC Gaming we are on track to achieve our goal of purchasing an aircraft and hangar this winter. This purchase will secure the future of Air Search and Rescue capabilities in the Elk Valley throughout the year for many years to come.”

Kudos to the volunteers who have donated their time to running the program and raising funds.