Sabrina Tennert and Shannon Johnston work the wood splitter, quartering the logs into more usable pieces. Steve Kidd/Western News

Video: Dry-grad fundraiser gets helping hand from PIB

Penticton Indian Band helps school surpass their goals

Princess Margaret Secondary’s grad class got a lot of help for this year’s annual firewood fundraiser for their dry grad.

There was the Penticton Honda Centre donating splitters and chainsaws, along with Westminster Rental and Tim Hortons supplying coffee and Timbits.

Hot coffee was especially welcome for the last day of the fundraiser on Nov. 5, when an arctic front forced temperatures down to freezing and below.

“It’s turned out to be a little colder than we were dealing with,” said Carla Carson, vice-chair of the Dry Grad committee. “We weren’t sure how many grads and how many people we would actually have show up, but we’ve probably had the highest numbers today.

“It’s amazing and look at all the wood they’ve got cut up already.”

Then there was the Penticton Indian Band, who turned out to be one of the biggest supporters. Carson is sure that support helped them surpass all previous grad years with their wood cutting totals.

Abe Kruger, who volunteered his time to help the firewood cutting crew, was a “huge asset” according to organizers. (Submitted photo)

Not only did the band supply the raw logs and the space for the crew of graduating students and their parents to work, but pitched in to help get things underway.

Carson and committee chair Dorothy Ciancone said the first Sunday was a bit confusing getting set up, combined with more people than those who had pre-ordered.

“I hadn’t realized how hard it was for the general public to find cut firewood for this year but with the backcountry being closed down for so long people were in real need for wood,” said Carson, adding that technical hitches made them worried they were going to be able to proceed.

“It was a little bit of chaos, because we hadn’t been up to the site before, so we didn’t know how to organize the site,” said Ciancone.

Carson said some PIB band members dropped by and asked what they could do to help get things going.

“They not only brought chainsaws but they started bucking up the wood at an amazing pace and just kept on going until we were back up and running at full force,” said Carson.

That included Abe Kruger, who Carson said also came up early the next Sunday to buck up some more of the logs.

“When the kids came up here, they got to get involved right away and they started splitting and loading the trucks,’ said Carson. “They (the PIB and band members) have been absolutely awesome.”

The Dry Grad committee’s next fundraiser is on Nov. 26 at the Barley Mill Brew Pub with doors opening at 2 p.m. for the Grey Cup, along with a silent auction, 50/50 draw and a raffle to win a beer tree. Tickets are $15, including a door prize draw, baby back ribs dinner and can be purchased at Princess Margaret Secondary front office.

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