On July 7 we first learned about the wildfires near Ashcroft and the subsequent evacuations of people from a number of communities to Kamloops. In the ensuing days, I witnessed the general outpouring of concern and saw how many of you reached out to help your neighbours. You came to help on the initial day at McArthur Island, for several days here at TRU and at the various reception and volunteer centres that opened throughout the province in support of the thousands of people displaced from their homes.
We are very happy for the residents in Cache Creek who have been able to go home, but we know that some of them face challenges coping with the damage; our hearts are with them.
But while the group lodging is no longer operating in the basement of our gym and is now running out of the Sandman Center, TRU is still operating lodging in the Residence and Conference Centre. We are also providing accommodation and food for many firefighters.
If the wildfire situation should escalate, we remain on standby in case the gym is needed again.
We all remain deeply concerned for our students, faculty and staff at TRU Williams Lake. Even while evacuated, many of the staff and faculty have done their best to keep in contact with their students and each other. Our thoughts are with each one of them and, of course, with all the people who remain affected by the fires throughout the province.
It is important to acknowledge that it takes extra attention to cope with stressful events like this. Please consider counselling support for you and your family, available through our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP).
Thank you for your strength and dedication to our students, the evacuees and each other. The outpouring of compassion from our TRU community has been remarkable to witness. Your patience during this extraordinary time has been appreciated.
I am very proud to have you as colleagues.
President and Vice-Chancellor