Bruce Weicker of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 receives information over the phone regarding the vandalism that occurred late August at the Canoe Beach Kids Don’t Float PFD loaner station. (File photo)

Community steps up after Kids Don’t Float station vandalized

Salmon Arm Observer story prompts outpouring of support for program

Bruce Weicker credits the Salmon Arm Observer for helping to turn a bad news story into good news.

The Shuswap Lifeboat Society president and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue volunteer says a story in the local paper about an act of vandalism prompted a positive and much appreciated response from the community.

“Following the publication of an act of vandalism… in which the Kids Don’t Float kiosk sign at Canoe Beach was destroyed, the community of Salmon Arm responded with generosity to have the damage repaired,” writes Weicker in an Oct. 1 email to the Observer.

On Aug. 27, the Observer spoke with Weicker who, with disappointment, noted sometime overnight on Saturday, Aug. 25, the metal sign at the Kids Don’t Float PFD loaner station at Canoe Beach had been seriously damaged and had to be removed.

Related: Vandals target loaner life-jacket kiosk in Canoe

“I am very disappointed considering the popularity of the program designed for kids needing life-jackets,” Weicker said at that time. “This was the first one installed on Shuswap Lake thanks to a donation from the Salmar Community Association.”

Weicker says in his Oct. 1 email that immediately after the story’s publication, Duane Armstrong of All Phase Electric, contacted Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and donated a replacement sign at a cost of $450.

“The supplier of the sign in Victoria put a rush on the replacement order and it was received and installed within 10 days. Normally this takes up to one month,” said Weicker.

Related: No PFD, no problem

But the community response didn’t end there. Weicker said SASCU also stepped up to donate $500 for replacement life jacket,s while other individuals have contacted Weicker to donate life jackets that their children had outgrown.

“The response has been tremendous and is much appreciated,” said Weicker, adding The Kids Don’t Float kiosks at various boat launches and beaches on Shuswap and Mara Lakes provide loaner life jackets for children so they can always be safe on and around the water.

“The heavy demand for the life jackets this past summer is an indication of just how successful the program is. We are always in need of replacement life jackets.”

Anyone with extra life jackets may donate them by calling or texting Weicker at 25-833-8971 to arrange for pick up or drop off.


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