Laila Bird, past-president of the Princeton Hospital Auxiliary, presents $30,000 to Carey Bornn, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. The donation will help provide medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion. (Submitted photo)

Help after a dramatic escape from fire results in donation to Penticton hospital

Donation to the Penticton Regional Hospital comes by way of the Princeton Hospital Auxiliary

After being burned out of her home two summers ago, Laila Bird truly knows how much the Princeton Hospital Auxiliary helps their community.

Bird, the auxiliary’s past-president, was looking after her son’s rural home on Highway 5A north of town, when a massive wildfire roared through the area in July 2017. Two homes, including theirs, and one business were destroyed.

“We lost every blooming thing, except the tractor,” she said.

Related: Okanagan First Nation artist unveils special sculpture at Penticton hospital

Minutes after running out of the house, Bird and some neighbours watched as the blaze raced by.

“It was actually coming down the mountain – flames and everything – when I was alerted,” she said.

“I just had time to put out the sprinklers, put the dog in the car, grab my passport and purse and get out.”

Bird was the first person to arrive at the town’s emergency evacuation centre and received tremendous community support, especially from the hospital auxiliary which supplied many evacuees with free clothing from their downtown Thrift Shop.

“Thank God for the hospital auxiliary, because all I had was what I stood in,” she recalled.

Related: GoFundMe set up for optimistic Princeton woman

The Princeton Hospital Auxiliary, established in 1910, is a strong community supporter with about 50 members who volunteer at the Thrift Shop on Vermillion Avenue.

“The town population is less than 3,000, so with 50 members, that’s pretty good,” she said.

In addition to fundraising for Princeton General Hospital and other local organizations, the auxiliary is also donating $30,000 to help provide medical equipment for the expansion of Penticton Regional Hospital.

Bird emphasized the PRH donation does not come at the expense of Princeton’s own hospital. The auxiliary has an extensive list of recent donations to Princeton General Hospital, including $20,000 for a telemetry system and $2,600 for a defibrillator. It also recently provided a blanket warmer at the Ridgewood Lodge extended care residence and a bariatric shower chair.

Related: A fire can destroy many things — but not spirit

As well, Bird said the auxiliary contributes to Meals on Wheels, provides bursaries for graduating high school students entering post-secondary education in health care, and has assisted the Princeton and nearby Erris volunteer fire departments.

“They’re the first responders and they’re well-trained,” she said.

Bird has served for more than eight years with the Princeton Hospital Auxiliary after moving to the Similkameen 10 years ago from the Lower Mainland.

The donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, gained praise from Carey Bornn, the foundation’s executive-director.

“That shows what an incredible auxiliary they have in Princeton,” Bornn said. “Their support for their own community’s hospital and PRH is tremendous.”

The new PRH tower, which includes a rooftop helipad, will open on April 29.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Take an Old Bag to Tea Okanagan hospital trauma room fundraiser

A special fundraising event is June 9 to help equip the trauma room of the new David E. Kampe Tower

Minnesota standout latest signing for Okanagan BCHL squad

Liam Malmquist of Minnesota coming to Vees for 2019/2020 season

Early-morning fire destroys Okanagan packing house

Cause of fire that destroyed an Oliver packing house remains under investigation.

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Brothers acquired land at entrance to Garnet Valley

Name of Summerland valley and lake does not match spelling of family name.

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Most Read