Tuesday April 5, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Ukraine is far away from Langford, but the impacts of the war are felt around most of the world, including here on the west shore.
Yesterday the City of Langford held a brief media event at the main fire hall. Speakers included Mayor Stew Young, Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, and Langford Legion President Norm Scott. Representing the Langford Supports Ukraine Committee were Shannon Russell Willing and Shirley Ackland.
The Langford Supports Ukraine initiative is a community partnership to raise funds for Ukrainian humanitarian relief.
Comments from the Mayor:
“This is to raise money for the Ukrainian people who are stuck in Ukraine through the Red Cross, and in our community as refugees,” said Mayor Stew Young at the April 4 afternoon media event. “We will have open arms to come here to Langford, we will support them,” the mayor said. The funding through Langford Supports Ukraine will help them transition.
Mayor Young was proud to announce that the committee has already raised $20,000 ($17,500 donated from businesses and $2,500 from the Mayor’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament) and so the goal has now been bumped to $50,000. He’s hoping for the usual community and business support “that we always get”, Stew Young said. He mentioned 9-11 and Haiti support as previous causes coordinated through Langford Fire Rescue. “Those are significant occurrences in the world and I’m glad that we’re doing that again,” he said, adding about the Ukraine war situation: “The world has to get behind this… we can’t stand by and do nothing”. Protecting democracy and supporting needs are key reasons for the fundraiser.
“A monster like Putin is a war criminal, and people need to say that more. We need to talk about it, what’s actually happening,” said Young. “This should not be happening in this day and age. It’s unfathomable that this would ever happen in Canada, and it’s happening in Europe. People want to help,” he told the crowd of about 30 people gathered in the fire hall, indoors from rain and wind of the day.
“It’s really important for people to feel they are connected and helping in some way,” the Mayor said. “Langford can do that.”
The mayor gave a shout out to West Shore RCMP Inspector Stephen Rose at the event. Presently the Operations Officer at the West Shore Detachment, Rose spent time in Ukraine for a year through the RCMP, helping with training around domestic violence and crime investigation.
The Langford Supports Ukraine Committee is chaired by Shannon Russell Willing, supported by Shirley Ackland, Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, and Langford Business Development and Events Manager Donnie Petrie.
“People have fled their country. They were going about their everyday lives and now they’ve got their whole lives in a suitcase,” said Langford Supports Ukraine Committee Chair Shannon Russell Willing. “We are the perfect place to host families,” she suggested. English as a second language and a jobs bank will be available.
The retired senior government employee outlined how Service BC will be helping bring newcomers together with services in the community, by reaching out to communities like Langford. Language interpretation services will be offered.
“We’re just a small community. We’re a country of small communities,” said Langford Supports Ukraine Committee Co-Chair Shirley Ackland who moved to Westhills in Langford almost three years ago from Port McNeill. “Canadians have a long history of truly understanding the need for humanitarian support,” said Ackland.
Ackland noted that about three million Ukrainians have arrived in Poland, and many will move on to other countries for shelter and possibly starting full new lives. They medical support, supplies and funds to get services. “The larger businesses have stepped up in support,” said Ackland about the Langford community. “But small businesses can step up as well,” she suggested, which might happen by sharing proceeds of an activity or product sale, or the sale of gift certificates.
Langford Legion President Norm Scott said he hopes all businesses be challenged to contribute to the Langford Supports Ukraine fund.
“The Langford Legion is here for the community, we support the community,” said Scott. He says the Goldstream Food Bank will support newcomers from Ukraine in addition to the full needs of the Langford community. As a partner in the event, he says “every business should be challenged to donate through this great fund”, and proposed the goal be raised to $100,000. The Legion donated $2,000 that day.
“The fighters have to be remembered for what they’re doing,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, Ukraine would have already fallen.”
Local school district:
Sooke School District (SD62) Vice-Chair Bob Beckett is the former Langford fire chief. He was at the event yesterday to review the many initiatives that Langford Fire Rescue has helped out with at locations abroad over the years.
SD62 was proud to lend a hand with all those projects, he said. Students heard from guest speakers as a way “to learn the values and benefits and responsibilities we share with those in need of a hand — either locally or half a world away”, said Beckett at the podium.
Beckett says that $4,400 has already been raised by Ecole John Stubbs Memorial School last month, selling yellow and blue buttons. Savory Elementary School with a fund-run raising $638 which matched with the Canadian Red Cross is over $10,000. “The world is one global community, one large global family,” the school trustee said.
Langford Fire Rescue:
“This is an important initiative that will directly help support those in need,” said Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey. “You can make a difference in the lives of Ukranian families.” Langford Fire Rescue cares about community safety and the welfare of those within and beyond the city limits.
Langford Fire Rescue is a composite department made up of 60 firefighters — both IAFF and volunteers. The full-service department provides a variety of services including firefighting, dealing with motor vehicle incidents and doing water rescue. Even during the fundraising announcement two firefighters went out on a call after an alarm went off.
Numerous charities benefit from Langford Fire Rescue fundraising drives. In addition to the new Langford Supports Ukraine initiative, the detachment also supports the Boot Drive, Dunk Tank, Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Wounded Warriors Canada.
How to donate:
Donation of $10 to $1,000 or more can be made online on the Langford Supports Ukraine webpage using your credit card.
West Shore Chamber support for Ukraine:
“Of course the people living in and fleeing Ukraine still desperately need our support,” says the West Shore Chamber of Commerce. These links are offered:
- Help Ukraine Vancouver Island is “designed as an information hub for information from Ukrainian organizations on Vancouver Island. It was made by the initiative of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Victoria in order to try to bring all information about helping the citizens in Ukraine and refugees in Canada and on Vancouver Island to one place.”
- Saint Javelin is “a Toronto-based company that makes beautiful clothing, and accessories with anti-war symbols and messages in support of Ukraine. The company donates 100% of net profits to Help Us Help, a federally registered Canadian charitable organization focused on humanitarian aid and educational projects in Ukraine.”
BC support phone line:
The BC government has set up a phone line offering support to Ukrainians feeling violence and also for British Columbians to offer their support as volunteers or to donate.
The Service BC phone line is 1-800-663-7867.
The line will be available with translation services in Ukrainian, Russian and 140 other languages and will be available from 7:30 am to 5 pm (Pacific time) daily.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. Cert PR, has been covering news of the west shore since 2014 (publishing as West Shore Voice News to mid-2020, and Island Social Trends since then). She writes through a socioeconomic and sociopolitical lens on matters of family, community and society. Her company Brookeline Publishing House Inc has published a broad range of communications, education and news materials since 1995, including a range of curriculum services.
BC phone line to support displaced Ukrainians (April 4, 2022)
K-12 seats for Ukrainian refugees (March 14, 2022)
Horgan on Ukrainian refugee crisis: housing & K12 (March 11, 2022)
Canadians offering support for Ukraine (February 26, 2022)
Streamline and speed up handling of Ukraine refugees says NDP (February 25, 2022)
Ukraine situation reminds Canadians about freedom (January 27, 2022)
EDITORIAL: Playing footsies with war (January 13, 2020)