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Friends rally behind Vernon houseboat owner

GoFundMe started for Shelley McDonald, who lost her touring boat – and business – in a fire Aug. 1
Friends are rallying behind Vernon’s Shelley McDonald, owner of Carpe D’Wine, a houseboat touring business, through a GoFundMe campaign. McDonald’s boat, Spirit of the Okanagan, was destroyed in dry dock by a fire Aug. 1. (Contributed)

Friends are helping a Vernon woman seize back her spirit.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Shelley McDonald, owner of Carpe D’Wine, a houseboat wine touring business that suffered a devastating setback on Aug. 1.

A fire erupted on the Spirit of the Okanagan boat in dry dock, believed to have been started by a welding accident, that destroyed the vessel and McDonald’s livelihood.

“While we’re grateful no one was harmed, the emotional and financial toll on Shelley has been profound,” said GoFundMe campaign organizer Jeffrey Taylor.

“Shelley has been a pillar of our community for years and recently retired from Telus to pursue her dream of Carpe D’Wine and her love of sharing her sommelier knowledge with her guests aboard her boat. Her houseboat business has been a source of happiness for locals and visitors alike, and now she needs our support more than ever.”

The campaign launched Aug. 12 to lend support to McDonald’s journey of rebuilding.

The fire took away her supplies, her business, and her income, yet the bills continue to flow in.

McDonald was not insured for this disaster during repairs while out of the water, but she does plan to rebuild the business on her own, which Taylor said will take time.

“Unfortunately, Shelley incurred substantial bills associated to the fire,” said Taylor. “The funds raised from this GoFundMe will go directly towards the fire-related bills which are an immediate financial burden, such as clearing and cleaning up the fire sight, salvage of the remaining hulk of the boat, and storage.”

Taylor said he’s aware times are tough for many so any contribution a person can make will make a “significant impact.”

“Whether it’s a small donation or a larger one, your generosity will play a crucial role in helping Shelley rebuild her dream,” he said. “If you’re unable to contribute financially, sharing this campaign and sending words of encouragement are equally valuable ways to show your support.”

As of Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m., the GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $3,500 toward a goal of $25,000.

READ MORE: Traders Cove hardest hit in Westside wildfire

READ MORE: Roof sprinklers not advised in wildfire fight: Vernon fire chief

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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