Whistler's Rotary Club responded to a fire call on Jan. 12 that left a Skatin couple with nothing.
Richard and Madeline Williams lost their house and a small store in the fire, according to Richard's son Keith Williams, a former Skatin Band manager.
Doug Deeks, treasurer of Whistler's Rotary Club, got a call from Abou Bai-Sheka, administrator of the Head of the Lake School in Skatin, an In-SHUCK-ch First Nation community about two hours from Pemberton. Bai-Sheka informed him that the couple had been burnt out of their house and lost everything.
"We had a poor connection, so we wound up sending him an e-mail," said David Oakes, president of Whistler's Rotary Club, adding that Bai-Sheka had to use a satellite phone because Skatin is not hooked up to a phone grid.
The Rotary Club then started rounding up household items such as bedding, kitchen utensils and various other things from its members, as well as items from the Whistler Valley Quilters' Guild. They delivered the boxes to the couple in Pemberton on Friday, Jan. 16, and they still have items left over.
"I've got another couple of boxes of stuff that came up Friday night from Squamish," Oakes said. "One of the Millennium Club members lives in Squamish, he had a bunch of stuff but couldn't get it up until Friday night, so I've still got it."
Skatin is a relatively isolated community that, along with the Douglas and Samahquam Nations, forms the In-SHUCK-ch Nation. Skatin is accessible only by an approximately 50-km forest service road past the Lil'wat Nation's Mount Currie reserve.
The Rotary Club of Whistler provides support on various levels for the Head of the Lake School. Among other things, the Rotary Club has organized a library for the school and donated kids-level education software for school computers.
Oakes is extending thanks to the club's members, as well as the Whistler Valley Quilters' Guild for donating to the couple.