As firefighters continue their battle in the second-worst wildfire season B.C. has ever seen, a Penticton woman’s campaign to recognize their efforts is starting to spread.
It has been one week since Judy McPherson came up with the idea to hand out orange ribbons, to shed a “positive orange glow” in the province, rather than the one often seen at night as fires burn in the mountains.
“From what I have heard it is starting to catch on,” said McPherson. “I am still continuing to hand them out to people I run into and trying to get businesses to come on board. I ran into a lady in Summerland the other day who looked like she was having a bad day. I started talking to her and it ended up she was one of the ones that was evacuated for a second time and was really happy about taking ribbons to pass them around.”
McPherson is not collecting money for the firefighters, rather she is making the ribbons herself and handing them out just to show support. She is encouraging others to do so as well.
Valley First has allowed McPherson to leave some ribbons for the public to pick up, Penticton Self-Storage has ribbons and staff are wearing them and McPherson said she has approached other businesses such as London Drugs, Summerland Credit Union and Royal LePage.
“People just want to do something, anything to show their support. There is never anything said negative about it when I approach people,” said McPherson. “There are so many people doing so many other things too, I just want to make sure the firefighters see it and know we are supporting them. This has seemed to pop up all over the place. I have been getting texts from people that have seen it in their local news.”
The Fraser Valley Regional District heard about McPherson’s campaign through a news article written by the Penticton Western News, shared to their sister-paper the Chilliwack Progress, and have signed on.
FVRD staff are putting their glow on to support BC Firefighters, both here and afar. Thank you for your work today, and every day. Great idea from Penticton, BC! https://t.co/1MZuFSIZTb pic.twitter.com/31irirGLBq
— Fraser Valley RD (@FVRD1) August 23, 2018
McPherson moved to the Okanagan from the Coast and said it was while sitting at the beach watching helicopters filling their buckets as they dumped water on nearby fires that she decided she wanted to do something to show her support and gratitude to the firefighters. The idea of the orange ribbon was born and she started creating them and handing them out to friends, family and even strangers.
“I just can’t believe how quick this is going around. I wasn’t sure how to figure out how far it has reached. I wanted somewhere where people can post their pictures or stories so I have started a Facebook page now,” she said.
McPherson is asking people to join her Facebook group Orange ribbon campaign and anyone who is wearing the ribbons or handing them out to take photos to share to the page or on any social media channel using #orangeglowbc to help spread the word and to allow her to see how far the campaign has moved.
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