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Rescued Island man raised more than $33,000 for Search and Rescue

Thierry Vrain and his wife grateful for the generosity of the Comox Valley community
On Sept. 5, volunteers from the CVSAR gathered at a fundraiser hosted by Thierry Vrain organized to thank the former for their role in saving his life. (Photo from Bob Wells’s Facebook page)

Three weeks after Comox Valley Search and Rescue saved his life, Thierry Vrain found an unique way to say thank you.

After being lost and injured while hiking on Strathcona Park’s Mount Becher in August, Vrain wanted to help others learn from his mistakes and give back to those who helped. The result was a Sept. 5 fundraiser that raised just over $30,000 for the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue team.

“This really speaks to the power of community and how important Search and Rescue is in the Comox Valley,” co-organizer Chanchal Cabrera said. “These people are unsung heroes, volunteers who risk their own safety to help others, and they are clearly appreciated by many.”

Held at Innisfree Farm & Botanic Garden with more than 170 people in attendance, the fundraiser featured a presentation by Paul Berry of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVSAR), Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells as master of ceremonies, and short speeches by Vrain and his wife about their experiences.

Attendees had a chance to meet members of the Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue team.

“Ground SAR specialists are in every respect first responders in their own right. We go where others don’t or can’t, providing professional care to those we serve,” said Berry.

The goal for the fundraiser was $5,000, and Vrain originally planned to match the funds raised with his own donation.

But over the following week, donations far surpassed expectations. Vrain ended up doubling his donations to $10,000, bringing the final fundraised total to just over $30,000.

“These people saved my life and maybe one day they will save yours,” said Vrain. “Raising funds for them, raising awareness of their work, seems like the least we could do to say thank you.”

- Zhyfhs Millicent

READ ALSO: More than 1,700 people saved by B.C. search and rescue in 2022

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