Damien Gillies with a load of firewood donated by several residents in the McLeese Lake area for an elderly man living in Australian. (Photo submitted)

Damien Gillies with a load of firewood donated by several residents in the McLeese Lake area for an elderly man living in Australian. (Photo submitted)

‘Bam – I had three truck loads donated’: McLeese Lake residents give firewood to elderly man

‘It was the community that did it,’ said Ian Hicks

Extreme cold weather did not stop residents of a rural Cariboo community from sharing some warmth with an elderly man living in Australian, north of McLeese Lake this week.

Damien Gillies put up a post on Facebook Monday, Dec. 27, noting the man’s electric heat was not working well, wondering if anyone could help gather some firewood for him.

Ian Hicks of McLeese Lake reached out to Gillies and told him he was confident he could find some free wood and when he learned Gillies had a truck they could use to deliver it put a plan into action.

“I found out the man was living in this mobile home and through no fault of his own was unprepared for being there,” Hicks told Black Press Media Wednesday.

“He has blankets blocking off every bedroom and every room. He is down to one small room with an electric heater on and it is still cold in the place.”

Hicks then put out a call on the McLeese Lake News and Events Facebook page asking residents to consider donating one armload of wood, which he’d already got commitments of from a few close friends.

“I figured if we got seven armloads we could put together a truck load and within 10 minutes – bam – I had three truckloads donated.”

Eleven people said ‘come and get it,’ including one guy who told Hicks he could have a whole row in his woodshed.

Hicks, however, said he didn’t want to exclude people by taking the easy big loads, but rather have everybody contribute a little bit and that way more people would feel like they were helping.

The Facebook post ran for the day and on Tuesday, Dec. 28 Hicks and Gillies delivered the first truckload.

Hicks stressed that he and Gillies did not want to take credit.

“Damian is the guy who put out the call for help and I was the one that saw it and was the point man for the plan. It was the community that did it, not us.”

A community member also donated a propane tank, three-quarters full, for the man, Hicks added.

READ MORE: Puntzi Mountain coldest spot in B.C. at -40C



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