Refugee rescue plan unfolding

More than 70 people showed up for meeting to discuss possibility bringing a family from Syria to the community

It was a typical Armstrong response.

A public meeting was called for Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of residents and organizations banding together to bring a family from Syria to the community.

More than 70 people showed up for the two-hour meeting at the Pleasant Valley Secondary School auditorium.

“Our goal is to have a community-based project,” said organizer Ron Brinnen, a retired PVSS teacher, on Wednesday. “Last night reflected that.

“If we’d had a go button to hit, the room would have exploded into action. You could feel the energy. It was really wonderful.”

Brinnen got the idea of bringing a family to the community after seeing the image of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy, and after talking to a three-year-old boy while parking cars as a volunteer at the Interior Provincial Exhibition.

Brinnen and Mayor Chris Pieper chaired the meeting with Bishop James Cowan of the Anglican Church and Rev. Bari Castle of the United Church giving some background on the refugee situation.

It is hoped, said Brinnen, that the United Church will become the sponsorship agreement holder, though there is a process the church would have to go through.

Following the meeting, people were asked, if interested in forming a steering committee, to leave their names and any resources and/or skills they offer. Like the attendance at the meeting, Brinnen was thrilled with the response.

“A significant number came forward, off the top of my head I’d say at least 20,” said Brinnen. “We had them explaining where their interests lay, what their experiences were and how they could help the process.”

Even though no financial account for the effort has been established, one resident wrote a cheque for $500 as a contribution and walked out the door.

A account (Armstrong Spallumcheen Refugee Fund) has been opened with a goal of raising $35,000, which is the number required to ask Immigration Canada for a family to come to Armstrong.

Retired teachers and teaching assistants have offered their time, if a family arrives in town, to organize English tutorials and teaching lessons for the family.

Brinnen and Pieper will sit down in the next week and look at forming the steering committee.

“We’re still feeling our way through this,” said Brinnen, who said there won’t be another public meeting on the topic “at this point.”

“There were a lot of wonderful people at the meeting, all there to help in their own unique ways,” said Brinnen.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No bucks for Ellison park expansion, ministry tells Vernon chamber

Vernon Chamber of Commerce vows to help government connect with potential funding partners to see Chelsea Estate purchased

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

Vernon firefighters showcase new rescue equipment

New tools helping VFRS make safer, swifter and more versatile rescue operations

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read