A rescued hiker from Courtenay is now planning a fundraiser to give back to Comox Valley Search & Rescue (CVSAR) as thanks for saving his life.
Seventy-seven-year-old Theirry Vrain was rescued on Aug. 15 after having to spend the night in the forest with no water in the middle of a heatwave.
Thanks to the efforts of CVSAR, Vrain is now back at home on his farm with his wife and friends making a slow but steady recovery from his back and leg injuries.
Vrain is thankful for all that the rescue team and medical staff did for him.
“I would say the primary emotion, feeling, was great relief,” said Vrain.
Vrain, along with his wife Chanchal Cabrera, are so thankful for the entire search and rescue team that they wanted to find a way to pay back the costs of the rescue. With support from friends and volunteers at their farm, they are organizing an event to raise funds, which Vrain will then match.
“They are really good people and we want to give back. Through this experience we realized [CVSAR] is totally funded by the community,” said Cabrera.
Cabrera also noted that her “feelings of relief and gratitude doesn’t begin to sum it up” and that it was the most terrifying event she and Vrain have ever been through in their entire lives.
Although there is no cost associated to being rescued, the timing of Vrain and Cabrera’s efforts couldn’t come at a better time for Comox Valley Search & Rescue search manager Paul Berry told CHEK News that the amount of funding that the station gets is not enough to cover the costs of rent and operational expenses upwards of $250,000 annually.
“We are the only team on Vancouver Island that is not housed on public land. We are the only team paying a significant lease cost and that is impacting our ability to train, to replace equipment and to thrive,” said Berry.
Berry added that they are currently trying to raise enough funds to buy land and build a new base for the team with the hopes of being mortgage and rent free once it is built.
Finding the land is difficult and the Comox Valley Regional District has not found any vacant land so far, but has committed $100,000 a year over five years to help with building costs once land is found.
The fundraising event will take place on Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. at Innisfree, which will include a silent auction, food and live music.