The drive to help Fort McMurray residents gears up in Central Lambton

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Firefighters, family and friends find ways to 

support people in the fire ravaged community

Lambton County firefighters are teaming up with a local auctioneer in an effort to raise money for the people of Fort McMurray.

Wyoming Fire Chief Mike Vasey says local fire departments are working to collect items for an online auction hosted by youcanbid.com. The items will be on display at the Wyoming Fair Building and will go up for sale, June 2. The money raised will be donated to the Red Cross for the Alberta Wildfires.

Vasey was approached by auctioneer John VanKlaveren to help.

“It hits close to home for us,” he says.  “Everyone knows someone who works out there,” says Vasey.

“And being a fire it seems kind of natural for firefighters to help.

“My first thought was how over worked they must be. Then you get thinking about it and it is their houses in the middle of it. You’re working a disaster and you have all this stuff at home you have to be doing like evacuating.”

Vasey says departments across the county are collecting donations. If anyone has an item that needs to be picked up, they’re asked to call VanKlaveren who can arrange for a mover to bring the item to the hall in Plympton-Wyoming.

But the auction isn’t limited to things like furniture. Vasey says the Wyoming fire department, for example, is donating a children’s birthday party at the fire hall complete with hot dogs, cake and ice cream and a tour of the fire hall.

While the auction is being planned, other fundraisers are taking place as well.

For Dave and Tiffany Perrin helping the victims of the Fort McMurray fire is personal.

The Petrolia couple stood outside of Heidi’s Independent Grocer Saturday collecting money and gift cards for about 13 families who are originally from Lambton County but now make their home in Fort McMurray. Dave Perrin grew up with Jenn and Derek Brush and wanted to do something to help.

“Unless you are living in Alberta, the government won’t give you any funding,” says Perrin as he accepted money and cards from shoppers.

He felt that gift cards would be the perfect way to help people who have returned home and are running low on supplies. And he says they can take the cards with them when they return to Fort McMurray. “They’re here because of the wildfires and they can’t get help,” he says noting some of the local residents have declined help or have offered to bring the gift card back to Alberta for friends who are in need. ‘The key for us is to help people who are local,” Perrin says.

The gift card drive continues Thursday in Corunna at The Cooperators Insurance office or people who want to help can contact Perrin at metalwurx@hotmail.com.

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