ASHCROFT, BC — For those who had to live through last year’s Fire and Flood season, 2017 was a difficult year. Ashcroft and Cache Creek were two communities heavily impacted by those disasters last year - first in the loss of Clayton Cassidy, Caches Creek’s Fire Chief, and then by the Elephant Hill Wildfire, which caused evacuations and burned many residents of that area off their properties. On Saturday, the Ashcroft Hub held a community event to help residents deal with the residual trauma that resulted from the difficult year that was, by showing those in need how to access some of those important services that exist to offer support in times of crisis.
While the Elephant Hill Wildfire no longer threatens the village of Ashcroft, the scars on the land are still clearly visible on the way into town - for many residents, the invisible scars still remain from one of the most difficult years in memory. On Saturday, the Ashcroft HUB held an event which hopes to heal those scars that people may not see but can certainly still feel.
“[The event] came as a result of trauma recovery, post-wildfire, and also post-floods,” event organizer and Ashcroft HUB Executive Director Vicky Trill explained. “Whether we realize it or not, there’s a residual trauma, and this is to address some of those things.”
The Ashcroft HUB has come to serve as gathering place for many in that community. She says she wanted to host the event to help those affected by last years disasters, and who may not know how to access those services which are still being offered.
“I really had no idea the services and programs that are available in our area,” Trill said. “In researching… I’ve realized there are actually more services and programs available for people, and we need to get that information out.”
One Ashcroft resident who had a tough time last summer was Vicky’s Mom Joan Henderson. Joan, who is legally blind, says when the Elephant Hill Fire took off, she didn’t know what to do.
“The fire was raging past my house and my children were all calling and saying ‘Get out of there, Mom,’“ Henderson recalled.
Joan’s neighbour came to her rescue and drove her to an evacuation centre in Cache Creek, but that situation is just one example of how difficult it can be for those who are extra vulnerable when disaster strikes.
“There’s are a few times I’ve thought… where would I go, what would I do if I needed something,” Henderson said.
Trill says in researching for the conference she’s learned a great deal about what services exist within Ashcroft to help people who were displaced by the floods and fires of last summer. She hopes she’s able to help others in community access those services in order to put the difficult summer of 2017 behind them.
“I hope people will realize they’re not alone,” Trill said. “When we're in isolation, it magnifies these traumatic events, and it makes it very difficult for us to heal.”
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