KAMLOOPS — Let's be honest: it's been a horrible year.
Between the wildfires, the opioid crisis and the high profile incidents of violent crime in Kamloops, it's been a year chock full of depressing news.
Most of us are looking forward to starting over in 2018, no matter how symbolic that new calendar might be.
In the midst of all this doom and gloom, there are people working hard to try to make things better for us.
We think, of course, of the many firefighters who slaved away through the worst wildfire season in BC's history.
Add to that the hundreds of volunteers who stepped up and made sure all those evacuated had a place to stay, and were getting as much comfort as possible in a time of unbelievable stress.
Their stories rarely get told, and it's not often we get a chance to thank them.
Even when we do try to thank them, it's not easy.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has proposed a monument to volunteers for next year, and has set aside $100,000 in its budget.
The money is being questioned by some, who believe $100,000 could be better spent.
Even some volunteers themselves have said they don't want it, and would rather the money be spent on better emergency preparedness equipment.
The answer is a little of both.
There should be some kind of permanent remembrance to this fire season, not only for the destruction it wrought, but the indomitable spirit it showed in our community.
$100,000, though, seems a little rich.
As for saying thank-you, let's all get that done tomorrow.
Our firefighters will on full display at tomorrow's Kamloops Santa Claus Parade, and it's a place where a large portion of the community turns up.
A lot of volunteer organizations will be represented as well.
The weather looks like it will be ideal for the season, so it's hoped the community will turn out in droves.
The least we can do is give firefighters and volunteers a big hand as they go by, showing them the appreciation they so richly deserve.
It's not $100,000 or a monument, but it may be even more appreciated.