The second annual North Okanagan First Responders Tribute Night was a huge success with more than 2,600 in attendance for the Vernon Vipers B.C. Hockey League game against Penticton at Kal Tire Place.
“This year we had over 500 First Responders and family members registered,” said spokesperon Beth Marks. “That’s 25 per cent greater than last year.”
First Responders include, police, firefighters, ambulance attendants, search and rescue personnel and emergency roadside assistance providers.
Following a video tribute, the crowd gave an enthusiastic standing ovation to the first responders in the audience, followed by the puck drop which featured retired search and rescue dog Zena dropping the puck.
The Vipers donated up to 500 tickets for the event, and also extended reduced price tickets to first responders from the Shuswap and Central Okanagan, while Kal Tire purchased 200 tickets for family members.
In addition to the complimentary tickets, first responders participated in a series of draws for gift baskets generously donated by area merchants.
Vernon firefighters sold 50/50 tickets and were delighted with the size of the pot which, according to Vernon Fire Department’s Chris Kulak, was more than double their usual amount.
The recipient charity was Muscular Dystrophy Canada, one of two charities supported by the firefighters (the other is the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund).
“We’ll certainly be back for next year,” said Marks, “And we expect the tribute night to keep growing.”
Marks gave special thanks to major event sponsors Vernon Vipers, Kal Tire, The Morning Star, Kiss-FM, Hub Fire Engines and Equipment and Sutton Group Lakefront Realty.