When Kirk Corby goes to fight a fire he travels at 15 feet per second. It takes him one minute and 10 seconds to leave his seat on a forestry airplane and arrive at the burning ground below. Alongside him is a team of fellow parachute professionals trained to skydive down and hit the blaze with stealth and determination. It is a move that looks military on the surface but is just another aspect of forest fire suppression in B.C.
There are no volunteers like those on the front line of emergency work. While doctors, firefighters and ambulance paramedics work for a wage, there are like-minded people like Varinder Bhangu and Graig Pearen who do similar work for no pay at all. They love to be there when disaster strikes, putting the pieces back together.
Bobby Smith used to worry about his foot, but he recently got an upgrade. "The old foot I had had a plastic part but now it's titanium. It's better. Because I'm so active I would sometimes break it but I can't break it now," he says.
Prince George is chock-a-block with community spirit and selfless volunteers. This is especially apparent with the Block Parent Program, in which people in neighbourhoods all across the city open their very homes to people in need.
The Prince George Community Foundation deliberates each year to name the one citizen of the community who stands out as exemplary. The Citizen of the Year is a formidable title, with past winners like Bob Harkins, Gord Molendyk, Horst Sander and most recently Murry Krause. To even make the list of nominees is an honour.
The seedling trees are growing great out on the clearcut today because Kari Rafuse didn't take her day off. She is supposed to get one day off per week, but the sheep need her too much right now so she has to stay on the cut block. The portable fences need moving, one shepherd is leaving today and another one arriving, it's been raining for the past couple of days, two sheep are in sick bay and another 1,700 are eating their way across the hillside.
ryan Looker puts his name to good use. Right now he is looking across the fields at the Prince George Airport, following the progress of Ron Caldwell. Ron is a certified tracker and, like Bryan, a valued member of the Search & Rescue team in Northern B.C. Both of them know all about man-hunts and that personal knowledge being challenged today by the shortest recruit in local S&R. A handsome young guy named Jake.