Summerland is a town where people don’t hesitate to help each other. This is something outsiders take note of and residents appreciate.
Rev. Glenda Drew is a retired Anglican priest, who is wintering in the Okanagan from Winnipeg. She is helping out in the local parish.
A few weeks ago, she and Judith Chidlow were attending the Centering Prayer group at the church.
As they were all leaving the building, they noticed someone in distress.
“There was this tiny elderly man staggering through the parking lot,” explained Chidlow.
“When I came out he was hanging on to the stop sign because he couldn’t stand. Everybody was around him trying to figure out what they were going to do,” said Drew.
“It was obvious he was going to fall and couldn’t be held up. We all stood there for a few minutes and then I ran for the Medical Clinic.
Liana Bonaldi remembers the day well. She was able to identify the man and knew where he lived.
She also knew there was a wheelchair in the building and told Drew where it was usually kept.
“I ran up to the doctor’s clinic and they had a wheelchair sitting right outside the elevator. I grabbed it and headed back down,” said Drew.
She got the man to sit in the wheelchair and she then told the rest of the group that she would stay with him and for them to carry on to the coffee shop.
Some time later it was determined that no one would be coming for him, so Bonaldi then phoned the taxi.
“He was there in one minute,” said Drew. “This driver deserves so much credit. He handled the man beautifully and safely and got him into the taxi.”
Drew then accompanied the man back to where he lived and saw him safely inside.
The taxi driver waited for her and then took her to join her friends for coffee.
While Drew, being from Winnipeg, thought it was quite unusual to have such support shown to a stranger, Chidlow was not in the least surprised.
“I thought the community gathering around was very much like Summerland,” she said.
Helping people is what Drew said she is called to do and it has been her life purpose.
For Chidlow it was her faith that played a role in her willingness to help.
“We had just been at prayer and we are of a faith that teaches us that caring for one another is of particular importance,” she said.
“I don’t think anyone thought ‘should I or shouldn’t I’; we just knew we should. A stranger in need right where we are, is a neighbour we need to help.”
Colin Marsh is a Summerland man who shared first hand a similar story of being rescued.
It was a pleasant spring day when Marsh set out walking from his home at Linden Estates, to go down town to pick up some medication.
By the time he was done shopping and had left the store it had started to rain.
“It was not just rain,” he said. “It poured. There was a stream running down the street.”
Marsh temporarily took refuge in the tire shop before he ventured out into the rain again.
He couldn’t believe his ears when he heard someone calling his name and saying, “I’ve been out looking for you.”
Although Marsh did not recognize the clerk from the store (who wishes to remain anonymous), he allowed her to help him across the street and into her van.
“She brought me right to the door. I call her my little angel now,” he said.
“I have heard of good deeds, but this was exceptional. I am deeply indebted to the woman.”
These two stories show the wonderful community spirit in Summerland, where people pull together to help each other out.
It would seem probable that all those involved share Bonaldi’s sentiment, for she said,
“You’ve got to love a small town! I wouldn’t trade living here for the world.”